Federal Disaster Funds Get Backing for Ariz. Storms

Federal disaster funds have been made available for Arizona to help communities in the northern and central parts of the state recover from the effects of a series of recent storms, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.

Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the assistance was authorized by President Bush under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to public property from severe storms and flooding that occurred from Dec. 28, 2004 through Jan. 12, 2005.

After the declaration, Brown designated the counties of Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai, and the Hopi and Navajo Tribal Nations eligible for federal funds 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.

In addition, Brown said federal funding will be available on a cost-shared basis for approved hazard mitigation projects in the counties of Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai, and the Hopi and Navajo Tribal Nations. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Sandy Coachman of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Coachman 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.