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Federal Disaster Aid Requested After Quake

By Times-Herald, Vallejo, Calif.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Sept. 03--U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson D-St. Helena, on Tuesday called on President Obama to issue a major disaster declaration for the areas impacted by the South Napa Earthquake on Aug. 24, Thompson's office announced.

Led by Thompson, the letter to the president was also signed by U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and U.S. Reps. Jared Huffman and John Garamendi.

A major disaster declaration, which was formally requested by the State of California, would provide federal assistance to the communities that were damaged by the earthquake. The president must approve the state's request.

"The earthquake hit our communities hard and federal assistance is needed for our area to fully recover from the damage that was caused," Thompson said in a statement. "I stand ready to help expedite any support and resources because the sooner we get aid from the federal government, the sooner we can begin rebuilding and repairing our homes, businesses, and infrastructure."

If the president approves federal assistance, funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be available for individuals to help rebuild and repair housing, and for local communities to repair public infrastructure. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans may be available to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, inventory, and supplies. Homeowners and renters may also be eligible for SBA loans to repair or replace disaster-related damages to homes or personal property.

State and local government inspectors have conducted damage assessments and determined the extent of the damages sustained are beyond their capacity to repair without federal help, so the state has formally requested the president issue a major disaster declaration. The president must approve the state's request for federal assistance to become available.

FEMA won't provide for assistance if there is another option in place, like insurance. All individuals should contact their insurance companies first to see what benefits, if any, their plan provides.

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(c)2014 Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.)

Visit Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.) at www.timesheraldonline.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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