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Thursday, May 15, 2003 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4541

AoA Provides Disaster Relief To Older Victims Of Texas’ Tropical Storm Fay

Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging, Josefina G. Carbonell, recently awarded $70,000 to the Texas Department on Aging to reimburse six counties in the Coastal Bend Region of Texas that were hardest hit by Tropical Storm Fay last September. The storm caused severe flooding and tornadoes and resulted in extensive damage to hundreds of older residents; many were evacuated from their homes. On September 26, 2002, President Bush declared the following counties within the Coastal Bend Region of Texas: Aransas, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces and San Patrico as eligible for national disaster assistance.

The AoA disaster relief funds are needed to provide critical gap-filling services and advocacy for older victims. Assistant Secretary Carbonell expressed her commitment to helping them recover. “Many seniors living in the Coastal Bend region of Texas were devastated by the severe storms and flooding due to Tropical Storm Fay. The award of these funds will help the Texas Area Agencies increase their supportive services to older Texans who need assistance in rebuilding their lives. For older persons, it is a lot harder to leave their cherished possessions and memories behind and this assistance will help rebuild their lives,” said Assistant Secretary Carbonell.

The Texas Department on Aging will use the AoA funds to reimburse its Area Agencies on Aging for gap-filling services that were provided, such as: helping clients with chore services, ongoing clean-up and debris removal; assisting with minor home repair; providing relief for relocation expenses, obtaining temporary housing and lodging reimbursement; and helping with transportation and meals.

AoA funds also will help fund advocacy service that was provided to older storm victims in the affected area. This includes assessing individual needs of older persons to match with available resources; providing help and support with returning to normalcy; and assisting victims register with FEMA and the Red Cross.

For additional information on AoA’s national disaster preparedness and response activities, please contact Irma Tetzloff at (202) 357-3525.