- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2009

President Obama late Wednesday evening declared Arkansas and Kentucky as federal disaster zones following severe storms, the first time he has issued such a declaration.

The White House announced after 11 p.m. that Mr. Obama spoke with Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to get updates on the recent winter storms and to learn the status of their emergency response efforts.

Mr. Obama told the governors he would approve their requests for federal aid, and signed the two declarations following the phone calls.

The White House did not say how much aid was authorized.

It is the first time the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has been mobilized since Mr. Obama became president and the first actions for new Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The White House said citizens seeking more information should call FEMA at (202) 646-4600.

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