President Biden on Thursday signed a disaster declaration for Florida that makes available federal aid and emergency assistance after Hurricane Ian slammed the state as a Category 4 storm Wednesday, the White House said.

The declaration frees up federal aid to assist state and tribal recovery efforts in some of the hardest hit areas of Florida — including Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties, the White House statement said.

“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,” according to the statement.

​It noted that federal funds also are available to state, tribal, eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for debris removal in many of the counties slammed by Ian.

Joe Biden.
President Biden’s disaster declaration makes federal aid and emergency assistance available for Florida.
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A flooded street is seen in downtown Fort Myers.
A flooded street is seen in downtown Fort Myers following Hurricane Ian.
REUTERS

​​Federal money is also available for hazard mitigation measures across the state. 

FEMA director Deanne Criswell ​named Thomas McCool as the federal coordinating officer for recovery operations in Florida. ​

Hurricane Ian moves toward Florida on September 28, 2022.
Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties were some of the hardest hit by Hurricane Ian.

A flooded street is seen in downtown Fort Myers.
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.

Brianna Renas, 17, inspects a fallen palm tree outside her home in Cape Coral after riding out Hurricane Ian.
A woman inspects a fallen palm tree outside her home in Cape Coral after riding out Hurricane Ian.

Others areas may later be included in the declaration after an assessment of damages is completed, the White House said. 

The hurricane blazed a path of destruction from the Gulf Coast to the east coast after coming ashore on Wednesday with winds that reached up to 150 miles per hour, one of the strongest storms ever to hit the state. ​

More than 2 million people in Florida are without power.



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