Washington, DC -- Twenty-six Nebraska counties were designated for federal disaster aid today by the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help communities recover from the effects of a series of late winter storms that struck the state last month causing extensive damage to electrical utilities.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh took the action after President Bush declared a major disaster for the state because of infrastructure damage stemming from winter storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred over the period of April 10-23.
Allbaugh said the President's declaration make federal funds available to the state and affected local governments in the 26 counties to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities and eligible private nonprofit power systems. Federal funding also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
The counties designated eligible for the assistance include Banner, Blaine, Box Butte, Brown, Chase, Cherry, Cheyenne, Deuel, Gage, Garden, Hayes, Hooker, Johnson, Keith, Keya Paha, Kimball, Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, Morrill, Nuckolls, Perkins, Rock, Saline, Sioux and Thomas.
Allbaugh indicated that additional counties may be designated for aid later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named Carlos Mitchell of FEMA to coordinate federal relief operations.
Mitchell 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.