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Federal Disaster Funds Approved for Indiana

by: Emergency Information Media Affairs

WASHINGTON May 8, 1998 -- Federal disaster funds were approved today to help communities in four northwestern Indiana counties recover from the effects of a severe winter storm that struck the area earlier this year, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the aid was authorized under President Clinton's major disaster declaration issued for the state this afternoon because of damage to community facilities and other public costs resulting from the storm that occurred over the period of March 9-12.

Immediately after the President's action, Witt designated the counties of Jasper, Lake, LaPorte and Porter eligible for federal funds to supplement the recovery needs of affected local governments. He indicated that additional counties may be designated later based on the results of further damage assessments.

Under the declaration, Witt said the federal government will pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and restoring damaged public property, such as roads, buildings and utilities. Federal funding also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.

Gary Pierson, of FEMA's regional office in Chicago, Ill., was named by Witt to coordinate the federal relief effort. Pierson said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.

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