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 West Virginia to help communities recover from the effects of severe storms that struck the state earlier this month.
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 the storms, flooding and landslides that began Jan. 4.
After the President’s action, Brown designated the counties of Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Tyler and Wetzel 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 the restoration of damaged facilities. The funding also covers eligible state and local government costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the disaster.
In addition, Brown said federal funds 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.
Michael Bolch of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Bolch 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.
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