Lincoln, NE -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that disaster assistance for local governments and public power districts affected by the recent severe storms and tornadoes has been expanded to 8 more Nebraska counties, bringing the total to 18.
Federal Coordinating Officer Justin DeMello said the additional assistance was approved following a review of damage data gathered by state and federal disaster recovery officials. Under the original declaration, issued by President Bush on July 21, only 10 counties were designated disaster areas.
The newly added counties are Butler, Cuming, Deuel, Dixon, Holt, Knox, Pierce, and Polk. The original counties are Cedar, Douglas, Greeley, Howard, Jefferson, McPherson, Perkins, Platte, Stanton, and Thayer.
Eligible local governments and public power districts in these counties are able to apply for federal funds to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities.
Procedures for requesting the assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced by state and federal disaster officials.
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 Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.