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Obama declares storm disaster for Wash. state

Fri., Jan. 30, 2009, 3:54 p.m.

OLYMPIA — President Barack Obama declared a federal disaster Friday for the flooding, mudslides and avalanches in Washington state earlier this month.

Damage surveys done by the state found more than 100 homes destroyed and more than 2,000 damaged by severe winter weather from Jan. 6-9. Storms also damaged roads, water systems and farms.

Individuals in eight counties — King, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Wahkiakum — are eligible for individual assistance under the move.

“I applaud President Obama for expediting these requests, which helps Washingtonians in the affected counties begin the recovery and rebuilding process,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement.

She noted that while a ninth county, Clark, requested such help but did not initially qualify, FEMA representatives indicated it can resubmit its request.

Washington lawmakers said they were encouraged that the Obama administration acted promptly after Gregoire and the state’s congressional delegation submitted the disaster request.

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