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For Immediate Release January 10, 1998

The President today declared that a major disaster exists in the state of New York and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas struck by severe winter and ice storms, high winds, and flooding beginning on January 5, 1998, and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals and local governments in a five county area. The counties include Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence.

Assistance can include disaster housing assistance, grants, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of disaster.

Federal funding also is available to eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures under the Public Assistance program for the counties of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence. Federal funding is also available on a cost-share basis for hazard mitigation measures.

James L. Witt, Director of the Federal Management Agency (FEMA), named Barbara Russell of FEMA's regional office in New York, New York to coordinate Federal Recovery operations in the affected areas.

The Agency said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional counties may be added after the assessments are completed.

The Agency said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance in the designated counties tomorrow by calling 1-800-462-9029, 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. seven days a week until further notice.