Washington, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster funds have been made available for Arkansas to help communities recover from the effects of tornadoes and other extreme weather that started early last month.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA director and under secretary for the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, said President Bush authorized the aid under a major disaster declaration issued today following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to public property from the severe storms, tornadoes and floods beginning on May 2.
Immediately after the declaration, Brown designated 15 counties eligible for federal funding to pay affected local governments 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and the repair or replacement of damaged public facilities.
The eligible counties include Chicot, Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Cross, Independence, Jackson, Madison, Newton, Perry, Poinsett, St. Francis, Van Buren, White and Woodruff.
Brown said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that more counties and additional forms of aid may be designated later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Sandra Coachman of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Coachman 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.