Washington, DC -- Federal disaster funds were made available today to help communities in five Alabama counties recover from the effects of severe storms that hit the state last month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush this afternoon following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storms and flooding that occurred February 16-17.
Under the declaration, Allbaugh said the state and affected local governments in the five counties are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities.
The five counties designated by Allbaugh for the assistance include Blount, Jefferson, Lamar, Tuscaloosa and Walker.
Allbaugh said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional counties may be designated for aid later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
William Carwile of FEMA was named by Allbaugh to coordinate the federal relief effort. Carwile 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.