WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster funds were made available today for Michigan to help cover some of the emergency costs stemming from the early January snowstorm that immobilized the city of Detroit, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said President Clinton authorized the aid this afternoon under an emergency declaration requested by Gov. John Engler for Wayne County, including the city of Detroit, as a result of the storm that started January 2.
Following the President's action, Witt designated Wayne County eligible for federal funding to pay part of the cost for emergency protective measures undertaken in response to the storm. This includes state and local government operations needed to protect public health and safety and to prevent damage to public or private property.
Under the emergency declaration, FEMA will provide reimbursement to local and state agencies for 75 percent of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts, and personnel overtime related to emergency services in dealing with the snow for a 48-hour period. These are the crucial hours when work crews clear snow from emergency routes and roads to critical facilities to permit the passage of emergency vehicles. Related emergency protective measures such as sanding and salting, search and rescue, shelter operations, and police and fire department response will also be eligible for reimbursement.
Witt named Lawrence L. Bailey, of FEMA's regional office in Chicago, Ill., to coordinate federal recovery operations in the stricken state.