RICHMOND, Va. -- The city of Newport News has been added to the 92 counties and 11 cities that were made eligible for federal disaster assistance following two severe January winter storms.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Services (VDES) are set to gather information to reimburse qualified local jurisdictions, electric cooperatives and state agencies for a portion of damage costs under FEMA's Public Assistance Programs in briefing/kick-off meetings this week.
On Jan. 25, a storm produced record-breaking snowfall in many areas of the state. A second storm that coated much of the Commonwealth in heavy ice struck on Jan. 30. Gov. Jim Gilmore declared a state of emergency and requested federal assistance following the two storms. President Clinton initially declared 103 Virginia jurisdictions eligible to apply for the Public Assistance Program funds on Feb. 28.
Under the declaration, FEMA's Public Assistance Program was granted. This program allows jurisdictions to apply for reimbursement for emergency work performed during the storm including the cost of abrasive materials and salt for roadways, debris removal and emergency protective measures. Funds to repair qualified utilities in declared jurisdictions will also be available. Under the program, FEMA will provide 75 percent of the share of eligible costs. State and local governments are responsible for the remaining 25 percent.
Federal officials said eligibility for jurisdictions to be included in the declaration is based on record or near-record snowfall, and the widespread economic impact caused by the storms.
Additionally, FEMA's Hazard Mitigation program was approved and will provide funding to help prevent future disasters. The Virginia Department of Emergency Services administers the two programs.