Parker, AZ -- The top officials for the Arizona State Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) and FEMA -- the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- appeared before the La Paz County Board of Supervisors Monday.
David Fukutomi, Federal Coordinating Officer for the flood disaster and Michael P. Austin, Director of ADEM, briefed the supervisors on activities to date and sought their views on reconstruction of damaged portions of the town of Wenden. La Paz is Arizona's only county which is receiving federal assistance for both individual assistance (flood damaged homes, etc.) and public assistance (government to government aid for damaged infrastructure). (Maricopa County residents are eligible for individual assistance and Cochise and Santa Cruz counties are both slated to receive public assistance.)
The briefing included reports on the federal and state response to the flood emergency including the opening of Local Assistance Centers in Salome and Wickenburg and the amounts of housing assistance already approved (as of the close of business Wednesday that stands at $257,914).
Supervisors told the state and federal officers that their vision for the rebuilding of the community included making sure that homes are rebuilt safely and that as much of the town as possible is kept out of harms way. The supervisors also expressed interest in helping people rebuild within the areas of town that are higher than the 100-year flood plain or in adjacent flood-safe areas.
Austin and Fukutomi outlined the variety of state and federal assistance programs for which the area may qualify including: minimal emergency housing repairs, rental assistance, temporary use of travel trailers or mobile homes, money to repair or replace streets and infrastructure and hazard mitigation to make publicly and privately owned structures more resistant to future disasters.
Fukutomi summed up the recovery effort by saying, "The various programs have to be fitted together so that Wenden is a safer community. It's not going to be easy, but it appears that the community as well as the county, state and federal governments share a common vision for the future."