Washington, DC - The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster funds have been made available to help communities in 16 Arkansas counties recover from the effects of severe storms and floods that struck the state last month.
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 and flooding that began on December 15.
Immediately after the President's action, Allbaugh designated the following counties eligible for federal funding to supplement the recovery needs of affected local governments: Ashley, Clay, Cleburne, Columbia, Crittenden, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Little River, Logan, Monroe, Poinsett, Prairie, Scott, Stone and Woodruff.
Under the declaration, Allbaugh said the federal government will pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. The declaration also makes funding available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
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 Joe Bray of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Bray 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.