(NECN: Washington, D.C.) - President Obama has signed a major disaster declaration for two Massachusetts counties as a result of the June 1 tornadoes that killed three people and caused millions of dollars in damage in central and western Massachusetts.
The declaration for Hampden and Worcester counties makes affected individuals eligible for much-needed funding to help rebuild after the storms.
The text of the release from the White House is below.
President Obama Signs Massachusetts Disaster Declaration
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and ordered Federal aid to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and tornadoes on June 1, 2011.
The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Hampden and Worcester 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.
Federal funding also is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and tornadoes in Hampden County.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire Commonwealth.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named James N. Russo as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
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.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: FEMA (202) 646-3272.