White House extends disaster declaration in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - President Bush declared four more northeast Ohio counties as storm-related disaster areas on Tuesday, Gov. Bob Taft announced.

The designation makes federal assistance available for storm, tornado and flood recovery efforts in Columbiana, Carroll, Cuyahoga and Stark counties, including Cleveland, Canton, East Liverpool and Carrollton.

Last week the White House announced disaster declarations covering Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Summit and Trumbull counties, including the cities of Akron, Youngstown, Warren, Medina and Kent.

Three people were killed in the storms.

"State and federal aid combined with the hard work of local, state and federal employees responding to these severe weather events will help these Ohioans rebuild their lives," Taft said.

Available aid includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

Up to 6 inches of rain fell during a 24-hour period beginning July 21 in the region, prompting widespread flooding. A tornado with winds up to 112 mph struck Youngstown that evening.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a toll-free number for disaster assistance inquiries.

That phone number is (800) 621-FEMA.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)