Washington, D.C., January 1, 2002 -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal relief funds have been made available for snowbound communities in two New York State counties under an emergency declaration issued for the state by President George W. Bush.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the President took the action today after receiving a request for federal assistance from Governor George E. Pataki as a result of the record and near-record snowfalls that began December 24.
Immediately after the declaration, Allbaugh designated the counties of Erie and Niagara eligible for federal funding to pay part of the cost for emergency protective measures undertaken as a result of the snowstorms. This includes state and local government operations needed to protect public health and safety and to prevent damage to public or private property.
Under the emergency declaration, FEMA will reimburse local and state government agencies for 75 percent of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts, and personnel overtime related to emergency services in dealing with the snow for 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 indicated that additional counties may be designated for assistance later if warranted by further assessments. He named Peter Martinasco of FEMA to coordinate federal recovery operations in the stricken state.