The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Tuesday that federal disaster funds have been made available for Alaska to help state and local governments recover from the effects of a recent severe winter storm.
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 storm, tidal surges and flooding that occurred over the period of Oct. 18-20.
After the President’s action, Brown designated the Bering Straight Regional Education Attendance Area and the Northwest Artic Borough 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 Bering Straight Regional Education Attendance Area, the Northwest Artic Borough and the city of Mekoryuk on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that more areas and additional forms of assistance may be designated later if warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
William Lokey of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Lokey 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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