Washington, DC -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today designated seven Florida counties eligible for federal disaster funds to help local governments recover from the effects of floods spawned by heavy rains that started last month.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA Director and Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response at Homeland Security, said the aid was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to public property from severe storms and flooding beginning on June 13.
Brown said the President's action allows the state and affected local governments to apply for federal funds to pay 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 seven counties designated eligible for the aid by Brown following the declaration are Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Levy, Manatee and Sarasota.
Under the declaration, federal funding also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks, Brown said. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Peter Martinasco of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Martinasco said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected area.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizens Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.