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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 15, 1998
                       IN STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of North Carolina and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding on January 7, 1998, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in Avery and Mitchell Counties. Assistance can include disaster housing, grants, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

"I am pleased that the President is able to extend this assistance to the people of North Carolina who have been affected by the floods," said Chief of Staff Erskine B. Bowles. "As a North Carolinian, I am certainly proud of the way neighbors have come together to help each other in this crisis. My thoughts are with the families in the affected communities."

Federal funding is also available on a cost share basis for hazard mitigation measures.

James L. Witt, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), named Jack Schuback of FEMA's regional office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to coordinate Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

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