Bush OK's El Paso Disaster Area

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President Bush has declared El Paso a federal disaster area due to this month's heavy rain and flooding.

The designation clears the way for federal assistance.

El Paso city and county officials have said the storms caused public infrastructure damage of at least 25 (M) million dollars -- the threshold for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid.

Authorities also estimated that as many as 300 homes were destroyed in the flooding that caused more than 100 (M) million dollars in damage region-wide.

FEMA assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

El Paso residents and businesses seeking help can apply online or call 1-800-621-3362 during regular business hours.