Washington, DC -- Federal disaster funds have been made available for Massachusetts communities hit by record snowfall earlier this month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the assistance was authorized under an emergency declaration issued by President Bush after a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal assistance. The declaration covers jurisdictions with record and near-record snowfall from the late winter storm that occurred March 5-7.
Following the declaration, Allbaugh designated seven counties eligible for federal funding to pay part of the cost for emergency protective measures undertaken as a result of the snowstorm. This includes state and local government operations needed to protect public health and safety and to prevent damage to public or private property.
The designated counties include Berkshire, Essex, Franklin, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk and Worcester.
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 over 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.
Allbaugh named David Rodham of FEMA to coordinate the federal assistance in the affected areas.