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It's Official: We're a "Major Disaster"

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So says the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, which just issued a press release announcing that federal disaster aid has been made available to the counties in Texas affected by June's horrific weather (though, oddly, it covers only people affected by weather "during the period of June 16-18, 2007"). From the release:

FEMA Administrator David Paulison said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state of Texas by President Bush. The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Cooke, Coryell, Denton, Grayson, Lampasas, and Tarrant counties.

The entirety of the release is after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky

PRESIDENT DECLARES MAJOR DISASTER FOR TEXAS

WASHINGTON -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that federal disaster aid has been made available for the state of Texas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding during the period of June 16-18, 2007.

FEMA Administrator David Paulison said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state of Texas by President Bush. The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Cooke, Coryell, Denton, Grayson, Lampasas, and Tarrant counties.

The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Paulison named Kenneth Clark as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Clark said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are complete.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://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) Monday thru Sunday.

FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

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