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For Immediate Release
OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY
December 9, 2003
Statement on Federal Assistance for Virginia
Statement by the Press Secretary
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Virginia and ordered Federal aid to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding on November 18-19, 2003.
The President's action makes Federal funding available in the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Giles, Smyth, Tazewell, and the independent City of Galax.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-share basis for hazard mitigation measures.
Representing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named Louis H. Botta as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.
The Agency said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more jurisdictions and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are completed.
The Agency said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated jurisdictions can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: FEMA (202) 646-4600.