Lowry makes initial request for federal assistance

OLYMPIA - Governor Mike Lowry has made a first request to President Clinton for federal disaster assistance as a result of the winter storms that hit the state in late December and early January.

The governor requested federal assistance to help repair damaged public facilities and to aid individuals in Snohomish and King counties, two of the 30 counties included in his emergency proclamation. The governor's request also sought assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans to homeowners and business owners and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide low-interest loans to farmers.

State and local jurisdictions are continuing to assess damages across the state. Declared counties were expected to submit initial damage reports to Washington State Emergency Management (WSEM) today. Local, state and federal survey teams will be in the field next week, after which WSEM will submit to the governor's office additional recommendations for federal disaster assistance in the state.

A total of 30 counties currently are included in the state of emergency as a result of the winter weather disaster. In addition to King and Snohomish, they are Asotin, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Spokane, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman and Yakima counties.

Lowry's request sought federal disaster assistance in King and Snohomish counties to repair public facility damages sustained by local governments, special districts such as utility districts, Indian tribes and private non-profit groups. The governor also asked for federal hazard mitigation assistance to prevent future damage.

In the area of individual assistance, the governor requested federal aid for disaster unemployment, housing, federal income tax relief and crisis counseling.

In addition, the Department of Transportation is working with federal authorities to obtain funding to clean up and repair state highways damaged by the winter weather.

The governor's request was sent to the President through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region X office in Bothell.

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For information contact Rob Harper at the Emergency Management Division, 360-438-7737.