Washington, D.C. -- Federal disaster funds have been made available for Maine to help communities in Aroostook County recover from record snowfall that hit the area early last month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Michael D. Brown, FEMA director and under secretary designee for the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, a part of the Dept. of Homeland Security, said the assistance was authorized under an emergency declaration issued by President Bush after a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers jurisdictions with record and near-record snowfall resulting from snowstorms that occurred over the period of February 2-4.
Following the President's action, Brown designated Aroostook County 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 provide reimbursement to state and local 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 over 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.
Brown named James N. Russo of FEMA to coordinate the federal assistance in the affected areas.