Storm-Ravaged California Gets Federal Help

After three weeks of brutal weather, cleanup has begun in the state.

January 19, 2023

According to a recent statement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. President Joe Biden has declared that federal disaster assistance be made available to several California counties to supplement state, local, and tribal recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides that first began in late December and have continued into the middle of January.

The funding 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.

Assistance has been granted for Merced, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz Counties. According to a statement by the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom, additional impacted counties might receive assistance once storm conditions allow state, local, and federal officials to safely assess the scope of damage.

According to U.S. News, President Biden also plans to visit the state today, January 19, to survey the damage caused by the nine consecutive atmospheric rivers. At least 20 people died as a result of the storms.

Last week, President Biden approved the governor’s request for a Presidential Emergency Declaration to bolster state, local and tribal government storm response efforts. Governor Newsom has activated the State Operations Center to its highest level and also proclaimed a state of emergency statewide.

“California is grateful for President Biden’s swift approval of this critical support to communities reeling from these ongoing storms,” said Governor Newsom. “We’ll continue to work in lockstep with local, state, and federal partners to help keep Californians safe and make sure our communities have the resources and assistance they need to rebuild and recover.”

The statement also noted that work had begun to remove hazardous waste, clear debris, and complete the damage assessments necessary to document the extent of loss and maximize California’s requests for federal aid.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can apply for disaster assistance at, by calling 800-621-3362, or by using the FEMA App.

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