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Biden approves major disaster recovery declaration for California, Alabama
January 15 2023, 08:00

President Biden issued disaster recovery declarations for California and Alabama on Saturday to assist in local and state recovery efforts after both suffered major storms, the White House announced.

In California, Biden ordered federal aid to help areas affected by severe winter storms and subsequent flooding, landslides, and mudslides that began on Dec. 27, 2022. The weather events are still continuing.

"The president’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Merced, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz," the White House said in a statement.

"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," the statement read.

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The White House also said federal funding is also available to state and local governments as well as tribal entities, and certain nonprofit organizations for emergency work in the counties of Merced, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz.

At least 19 people have been reportedly killed in the storms.

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Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell named Andrew F. Grant as the Federal Coordinating Officer for the federal recovery operations. 

Also on Saturday, Biden declared another disaster exists in Alabama and ordered federal assistance in areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes on Jan. 12, 2023.

The order allows federal funding to be made available in the counties of Autauga and Dallas.

Criswell named Kevin A. Wallace, Sr. as the federal coordinating officer for these areas, the White House said. 

"Damage assessments are continuing in other areas, and additional areas may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed," the statement added.

The severe storms and tornados across the south left at least nine people dead.

The White House encourages residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas to apply for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. 

Fox News' Allie Simon contributed to this report.