President Clinton promises federal disaster relief for new flood areas

OLYMPIA -- In a quick response to Gov. Mike Lowry's request for federal assistance, President Clinton has declared a major disaster for the current flooding in Washington state.

"It's critical to get help out to residents and emergency responders around the state," Lowry said. "I'm extremely pleased that the president is making the resources of the federal government available so quickly."

Lowry yesterday requested federal disaster relief for 13 counties and the Yakama Indian Nation. The governor made the request because of extensive damage to homes, businesses and public facilities from the heavy rains, widespread flooding and numerous mud slides. State and county officials will begin formal assessments as floodwaters recede.

Victims of the current flood disaster should call (800) 462-9029 (or TDD: 800-462-7585) to begin the process of applying for disaster assistance.

Counties included in the presidential declaration include Asotin, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Kittitas, Lewis, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima. King, Snohomish and Wahkiakum counties will be added to the declaration soon, and other counties may be added as needed.

No damage assessments are available for the disaster, as many rivers have not yet crested, and emergency response personnel are still making assessments. The flooding and windstorms in November and December, which President Clinton declared a major disaster Jan. 3, caused approximately $45 million in uninsured damages.

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For more information, contact Mark Clemens, Washington State Emergency Management Agency, 360-438-7737 (media only) or the Governor's Communications Office, 360-753-6790.