The declaration enables residents of Columbia, Crawford, Milwaukee, Sauk and Vernon counties in the southern part of the state eligible for grants and low-cost loans to cover the cost of uninsured property damage and other effects of torrential rains since June 5 that have produced widespread flooding in Wisconsin.
The president made the declaration in Paris Saturday while conducting his "farewell tour" of European capitals. He received briefings from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and FEMA Director R. David Paulison, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said.
"He expressed his concern for people who may still be in danger and for those who are hurting from the impact of the storms," Perino said.
Local officials expect 25 more counties will be declared disaster areas in southern Wisconsin, where nearly 11 inches of rain have fallen so far in June, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
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