President Bush Declares Major Disaster for Florida

The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Sunday that federal disaster aid has been made available for Florida to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 24.

Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Bush. Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis in the counties of Broward and Miami – Dade for debris removal and emergency protective measures.

For a period of up to 72 hours, Federal funding is available at 100 per cent of the total eligible costs for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance. The period of up to 72 hours at 100 per cent excludes debris removal.

Brown said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state 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.

Justin DeMello of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. DeMello said that procedures for requesting assistance by eligible local and state governments and some non-profit organizations will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected area.