By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Today President Barack H Obama declared that Jefferson and Chilton counties were major disaster areas. This declaration by the President of the United States makes federal funding available to persons who were affected by the storms on January 22 and 23.
The Press Release said that, “FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.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 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. [local time] seven days a week until further notice.”
The White House Press Release said that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator W. Craig Fugate, has named Joe M. Girot as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. FEMA is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The President’s Press Release said that damage assessments were continuing and other counties could be added to the list later.
The White House Press Release said that “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-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.”
In response to the President, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma) said, “I am pleased President Obama quickly issued an emergency disaster declaration for the state of Alabama following the recent storms and tornadoes destruction. The declaration will make available federal aid that will help residents in Jefferson and Chilton counties rebuild and recover from the aftermath of the tornadoes and heavy storms. This federal funding will provide storms survivors with access to grants to meet their immediate needs such as temporary housing, financing for home repairs not covered by insurance, low-cost loans for uninsured property losses, and other programs.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the people killed by the storms and tornadoes that hit communities across Alabama last week and the many other residents whose property and homes were damaged. My office will continue to work with federal, state and local officials to ensure that we are doing all we can to get families the resources and assistance they need to rebuild their communities after these storms. In these difficult times, I know that the resilient spirit of our communities will see us through.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R-Tuscaloosa) said, “I am pleased with the President’s approval of this assistance,” Governor Bentley said. “Recovering from these storms will be a long-term process, and this individual assistance will greatly help people as they work to rebuild their homes.”
In his own statement Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-Vestavia) said, “We need to move as rapidly as possible to help the victims of these severe storms recover and rebuild.”
To read President Obama’s Press Release
To read Rep. Sewell’s Press Release
To apply for disaster assistance