Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal relief funds have been made available for snowbound New York communities under an emergency declaration issued for the state by President Clinton.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President took the action this afternoon following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's recent request for federal assistance. An intense lake-effect snow storm settled over Erie County crippling the City of Buffalo. The storm then shifted southward dumping near-record amounts of snowfall on Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.
Immediately after the declaration, Witt designated three counties eligible for federal funding including assistance for emergency protective measures under the Public Assistance program to save lives, protect public health and safety, and property.
The eligible counties include Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie.
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 Peter Martinasco to coordinate federal operations in the state.