Washington, DC -- Federal disaster funds were made available today to help communities in six eastern Montana counties recover from the effects of a series of severe winter storms that hit the state last month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said President Clinton authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued this afternoon. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storms that occurred from October 31 through November 20.
Under the declaration, Witt said the state and affected local governments in the counties of Carter, Fallon, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Wibaux are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost of repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. 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 the aid following the declaration, indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Steven R. Emory of FEMA was named by Witt to coordinate the federal relief effort. Emory 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.