Friday, 23 Oct 2020
WORLD
17/10/2020 11:38 AM

LOS ANGELES, Oct 17 -- United States President Donald Trump has approved California's request for a Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the state's emergency response to wildfires, California governor Gavin Newsom said Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response," said Newsom in a statement.

A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration helps people in the impacted counties through eligibility for support including crisis counseling, housing and unemployment assistance and legal services.

It also provides federal assistance to help state, tribal and local governments fund emergency response, recovery and protective measures, according to the statement from Newsom's office.

California officials said earlier that the Trump administration had rejected California's application for disaster relief funds, which aimed at bolstering California's emergency response to wildfires across the state and support impacted residents in six counties in the state, including Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, San Bernardino, San Diego and Siskiyou counties.

Newsom had asked for the major disaster declaration on Sept 28. The denial and the later reversal on the aid caused widespread concern in the United States.

There was a clash of views between the Trump administration and California on the state's handling of wildfires. The administration urged California to improve the management of its forests while Newsom blamed climate change for wildfires.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 8,500 wildfires that have burned well over a record 4.1 million acres (16,592 square km) in the state, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported on Friday.

-- BERNAMA

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