Washington, DC -- Federal disaster aid was made available today to help communities in six Maine counties recover from the effects of a series of severe spring storms that began late last month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said President Clinton authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued for the state this afternoon. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storms that produced heavy rains and subsequent river ice jams and flooding beginning March 28.
Under the declaration, federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for restoring damaged public facilities such as roads, bridges and utilities in the counties of Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford and Somerset. Funding also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Witt, who designated the counties eligible for assistance following the declaration, indicated that additional counties may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named A. David Rodham of FEMA to serve as the federal coordinating officer for the recovery effort.
Rodham said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.