President declares disaster from March storms

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) President George Bush has declared a major disaster in Alaska due to damage from severe winter storms last month.

The declaration Saturday makes areas affected by high winds and freezing temperatures eligible for federal assistance.

High winds accompanied by some of the winter's coldest temperatures hit Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough for about nine days starting March 6. The storms caused millions in damage.

Federal 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.

In addition, federal funding will be available to state and local governments on a cost-sharing basis for repair or replacement of damaged public facilities, plus hazard mitigation measures.

According to Gov. Frank Murkowski, federal funds will be available to cover 75 percent of the approved costs of repairing or replacing damaged public facilities.

William Lokey of the Region 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency will be the coordinating officer for the federal recovery effort.

According to FEMA, damage surveys are continuing in other areas and they may qualify for assistance.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses can begin applying for assistance Sunday by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). A TTY line for the hearing or speech impaired is available at 1-800-462-7585.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

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