The Times-Reporter

March 9, 2005

Taft requests help for victims of flood in Tuscarawas, Stark

Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON – Gov. Bob Taft has requested a federal disaster declaration that would allow individuals and businesses in Tuscarawas, Stark, Holmes and several other counties to seek aid for flood damages.

President Bush last month issued a declaration for 59 counties in the state, which he said deserved federal help after storms in January caused flooding and other damage.

Tuscarawas, Stark and Holmes were among 41 of those counties that were only eligible for reimbursement to local governments under the declaration.

Officials said that because of prolonged flooding in some areas, they were unable to collect enough information about damage to private property to make a request.

Since then, the state has collected enough data to ask for federal grants or low interest loans for residents and businesses in nine counties. In addition to Stark, Tuscarawas and Holmes, the state is asking for a declaration in Darke, Fairfield, Guernsey, Hocking, Licking and Richland counties.

An estimated 10,458 structures in the counties sustained damage, according to assessments.

Bush must approve the request to make aid available.

So far, more than 2,600 people have applied for federal disaster aid in the counties that Bush declared eligible for individual and business assistance, Taft’s office said.