DHS Sec. Johnson to tour Washington landslide area

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will travel to Washington state on Sunday to survey the damage from the March 22 mudslide that killed at least 30 people.

FEMA administrator Craig Fugate will also accompany Johnson. 

“Secretary Johnson and Administrator Fugate will also meet with federal, state and local officials and first responders involved in the ongoing response and recovery efforts,” Homeland Security spokesman Peter Boogaard said in a statement on Friday.

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Their visit comes just days after President Obama signed a disaster declaration for the region, allowing federal aid to flow directly to people affected by the landslide. 

Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) requested that Obama give the area “major disaster” status so people could receive direct federal assistance that covers losses, including housing and employment.

Obama had initially signed off on an expanded emergency declaration, which provides federal aid but it doesn’t go directly to victims. 

Major disaster aid can cover up to 18 months of temporary housing and offer unemployment benefits, in addition to grants for property, transportation, funeral, dental and medical expenses.  

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