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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 13, 2000
           President Clinton Declares A Major Disaster Exists
                       In The State of New Mexico

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of New Mexico and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a severe forest fire beginning on May 5, 2000, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in a twelve county area. The counties include Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval and Santa Fe, and the contiguous counties Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, Mora, San Juan, San Miguel, Taos, and Torrance.

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. 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 Mark S. Ghilarducci as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

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