Washington, D. C. -- Federal disaster funds were made available today for Arkansas to help communities recover from the crippling ice storm that hit the northern part of the state late last year, 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 aid. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storm that occurred December 3-4.
Under the declaration, Allbaugh said the state and affected local governments in 18 counties are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and the repair or replacement of damaged public facilities.
The counties designated by Allbaugh for the assistance following the declaration include Baxter, Clay, Cleburne, Craighead, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Newton, Poinsett, Randolph, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren and White.
Allbaugh said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that more counties and additional forms of federal assistance may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Alexander S. Wells of FEMA was named by Allbaugh to coordinate federal relief operations. Wells 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.