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article imageFeds offer $100 million in aid for California quake damage

By Nathan Salant     Sep 12, 2014 in Environment
Napa - U.S. President Barack Obama agreed Thursday that California was eligible for federal disaster funds to help pay for damage from last month's earthquake
Obama declared a major disaster for the northern California counties of Napa and Solano, making the state eligible for millions of dollars in emergency funding.
"The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of California and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by an earthquake during the period of August 24 to September 7, 2014," the White House statement said.
California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency and requested federal assistance days after the 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck and the extent of damage became clearer.
One fatality and more than 120 injuries have been blamed on the quake, which damaged dozens of buildings in the city of Napa and nearby communities.
Serious damage was reported as far south as Vallejo and as far west as Sonoma.
The temblor was the most powerful to hit Northern California since the 6.9 Loma Prieta quake killed dozens, toppled buildings and elevated freeways, and interrupted the World Series in 1989.
The White House statement did not specify how much money would be made available, but Brown's office has estimated that as much as $87 million in quake damage is eligible for federal reimbursement, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Federal funds also will made available to tribal and local governments, and nonprofit groups, the White House statement said.
Napa County, the heart of California's wine-growing region, estimated more than $400 million in damage, including more than $80 million to wineries.
Vallejo, the largest city in Solano County, estimated its damage at more than $5 million.
But damage assessments still are continuing, and losses could go much higher than preliminary estimates now indicate, the newspaper said.
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