- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in California because of last month’s Napa Valley earthquake, releasing emergency federal funding for the state.

The White House announced the move in a statement Thursday nine days after Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to Obama requesting the declaration. Brown declared a state of emergency for California shortly after the magnitude-6.0 earthquake on Aug. 24.

The White House didn’t say how much money may be available, but a preliminary assessment by the governor’s office found $87 million in earthquake costs that could be eligible for federal reimbursement.

Funds for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the earthquake is available on a cost-sharing basis for the state along with some tribal and local governments and non-profit groups, the White House said.

The quake was the strongest to hit the San Francisco Bay area since a magnitude-6.9 quake in 1989 and did broad damage to Napa County and neighboring Solano County.

It broke water mains and gas lines and sparked gas-fed fires that destroyed several mobile homes. The worst damage came near the epicenter in downtown Napa, where a post office, library and a 141-room hotel were among 150 homes and buildings deemed unsafe to occupy.

Napa County has estimated overall damage from the quake at more than $400 million, much of it to the area’s famed wineries.

The quake’s first death did not come until Wednesday, when a 65-year-old woman died from her head injuries more than two weeks later. Scores more were injured.

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