WASHINGTON - President Bush yesterday declared that a major disaster exists in Ohio and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas struck last week by severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Allen, Crawford, Hancock, Putnam, Richland, and Wyandot counties.
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, according to the White House.
Federal funding also is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide, the White House said.
R. David Paulison, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, named Jesse Munoz as the coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas.
FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas of the state, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are completed.
FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance today by registering online at www.fema.gov or 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. (local time) all week, including weekends.