Federal funding is being made available in Hawaii in the wake of December’s stormy weather under a major disaster declaration signed by President Bush.
The president ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas hit by severe storms, high surf, flooding and mudslides over a four-day period ending Dec. 7, the White House said in a news release Wednesday.
Eighty-three public schools were closed in the state after strong winds took out power lines, knocked down trees and brought chaos to commuters. Emergency shelters were opened on Oahu and Maui.
Gov. Linda Lingle requested the declaration Jan. 5 after joint federal, state and local assessments determined damage was severe enough to warrant supplementary federal assistance.
The federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities on Kauai and the Big Island and in Maui County.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout Hawaii to prevent or reduce the long-term risk caused by natural hazards.
“The federal funds will play a key role in our recovery and cleanup,” U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said in a news release issued by his Washington office.
Additional disaster assistance designations may be made in the future, if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.
A FEMA recovery team was slated to arrive in Hawaii with state Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixeira serving as the state coordinating officer, the state Department of Defense said.
In late December, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the opening of outreach centers on Maui and Oahu to offer loans to residents and businesses affected by the Dec. 4-7 stormy weather.
The agency said low-interest federal loans would be available to those whose property was damaged or destroyed in the storms and flooding.
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