TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

State officials are urging private citizens to help the victims of Tropical Storm Debby with cash donations to established relief organizations. 

In a release Thursday from the state's emergency response team, Gov. Rick Scott and emergency operations director Bryan Koon said financial gifts are the best way to provide immediate help. Anyone wanting to help should contact a local volunteer center for instructions on providing assistance. 

Florida emergency management officials have already declared 11 Florida counties as disaster areas that are eligible for federal assistance. That assistance includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. 

Other federal programs will help individuals and business owners recover from the flooding that resulted from the storm. 

Disaster officials say Debby is responsible for eight deaths.