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Feds eye storm damage


Sunday, June 03, 2001

U.S. Small Business Administration officials toured flood-ravaged areas of Lawrence County Friday, the first step in providing assistance to home and business owners.

"We saw a lot of infrastructure damage and some houses with major damage," said Mike Boster, assistant director of Lawrence County Emergency Services, which includes the County EMA.

Also, some houses had minor damage and there were lots of access points, like bridges, washed out, Boster said.

A representative of the SBA checked over such damage with the EMA.

"Basically, all we were doing is gathering information and numbers," Boster said, adding that the SBA will assess the damage, then report in a week to 10 days whether or not assistance can be made available.

Such assistance is likely to include low-interest loans, which are typically around 4 percent. People who qualify for assistance will be contacted individually if the the SBA determines assistance can be given, based on their criteria, Boster said.

In the meantime, it’s important for Lawrence County residents who suffered damage due to storms and floods between May 17 and May 22 or May 23 to contact the County EMA.

The EMA supplies such information to the SBA and other assistance agencies, which may be able to help families and businesses recover from a natural disaster, Boster said.

Contact the County EMA at 533-4375.

The SBA became involved earlier this week when Ohio Gov. Bob Taft requested the agencies assistance in declaring Scioto and Lawrence counties disaster areas.

Initial damage assessments indicated: 26 homes suffered major damage in Lawrence County; and about $300,000 in infrstracture damage.