Federal and state officials announced Friday more than three-quarter billion in federal dollars have been obligated to reimburse state agencies and local governments for costs involved in lifesaving emergency work related to Hurricane Katrina. This money will reimburse those who quickly mobilized forces to respond to the disaster by providing mass food and shelter to affected residents, working extended hours to enforce safety, helping to rescue individuals in harm’s way and clearing debris.
The obligation of $460 million Friday brings the total to $763 million, all of which is 100 percent federally funded and marks the beginning of similar reimbursements for all eligible applicants. “The individuals in Louisiana who responded to Katrina are nothing short of heroes,” said Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad Allen, director of federal recovery operations, “They went out there right after the storm hit. Many of them are victims themselves, but they have been working around the clock helping others. The parishes and state agencies deserve help for the costs they incurred saving lives.”
Under the Public Assistance (PA) Program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the state, local governments and certain private non-profit organizations are eligible to receive help with emergency measures and the restoration of infrastructure. Aside from providing reimbursement for emergency work performed following the disaster, the PA Program will help repair and rebuild the basic facilities, services and installations needed for the functioning of local communities.
Officials say the PA Program will also provide funding for permanent repair and restoration of damaged infrastructure, but reimbursing the State and local governments for costs incurred in the aftermath of Katrina are the immediate priority. FEMA is expediting these dollars in the wake of Katrina using available documentation to quickly estimate needs.
The PA Program allows FEMA to supplement state and local funds to assist government agencies and certain private non-profit organizations in affected parishes. Normally, FEMA pays 75 percent of the cost of projects and the state and/or applying agency is responsible for the remaining 25 percent. For emergency measures taken in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA is currently reimbursing 100 percent of all eligible costs.
Among those receiving the $760 million in federal funds are the City of New Orleans , $102.3 million; the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, $70 million; the government of St. Bernard Parish, $31.4 million; the State of Louisiana Military Department, $11 million; and the government of Jefferson Parish, $10.6 million.
FEMA and the State have provided funding to other state agencies and to local governments in the following parishes:
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