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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 18, 2000
                     EXISTS IN THE STATE OF ALABAMA

     President Clinton today declared a major disaster exists in the

State of Alabama and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and tornadoes on December 16, 2000, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals and local governments in a nine-county area. The counties include Dale, Etowah, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Limestone, Macon, St. Clair and Tuscaloosa.

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 also is available to eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures. 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 John D. Hannah 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.