Washington, DC -- Federal disaster funds have been made available for Montana to help communities in the counties of Gallatin, Missoula and Powell recover from the effects of late winter storms that struck 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 following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storms that occurred over the period of June 3-14.
Under the declaration, Allbaugh said federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments in the three counties to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and restoring damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges and utilities. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh, who designated the counties eligible for the aid after the declaration, indicated that more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named Michael Bolch of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Bolch said procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.