Federal Disaster Funds Get Backing in Maine

The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster funds have been made available for Maine to supplement state and local recovery efforts in communities struck by floods earlier this year.

Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said President Bush authorized the aid under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal assistance. The declaration covers damage to public property from flooding caused by periods of heavy rain, snowmelt and river ice jams that occurred over the period of March 29-May 3.

After the President’s action, Brown designated the following 11 counties eligible for federal funding to pay the state and affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations 75 percent of the approved costs for emergency work and the restoration of damaged facilities: Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington.

In addition, Brown said federal funds also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

James Russo of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Russo said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected area.