Washington, DC -- Federal disaster aid was made available for Vermont today to help communities in the counties of Bennington and Rutland recover from the effects of severe storms that struck 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 for the state this afternoon. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storms and flooding that occurred over the period of December 16-18.
Under the declaration, federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments in Bennington and Rutland counties to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for restoring 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 and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named Louis H. Botta of FEMA to serve as the federal coordinating officer for the recovery effort.
Botta 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.