Special to the Journal-Spectator

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the State of Texas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and flooding beginning June 24-25.

In a Wednesday, July 17 press release, it reads that President Donald Trump’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, 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-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Sandra L. Eslinger has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Eslinger said additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of further damage assessments. 

On Wednesday, July 10, Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Trump requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for three counties in the Rio Grande Valley that sustained severe weather and flooding causing widespread damage.

"I am grateful to the President and FEMA for granting Texas' request for assistance following severe storms and flooding in the Valley," Abbott said. "The Lone Star State remains committed to working with our local and federal partners to ensure Texans have the resources they need to recover from these storms as quickly as possible." 

Individual Assistance includes up to $34,000 per household for damages sustained during the severe weather. 

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.  The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. 

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