Syracuse, NY- Briefings for local officials to explain the process of applying for federal disaster assistance, in the wake of the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that hit the State between July 21 and August 13, 2003, will begin Thursday, federal and state disaster recovery officials announced today. The complete schedule is attached.
"These briefings are designed to help local officials understand eligibility requirements and the reimbursement process," said Edward F. Jacoby, Jr., Director of the State Management Office and state coordinating officer. "We also have a responsibility to ensure that federal, state, and local dollars are used appropriately."
Funds for disaster assistance were authorized under a major disaster declaration signed by President Bush on August 29, at the request of Governor George E. Pataki. Local governments in the counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Livingston, Montgomery, Ontario, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates are eligible to apply for federal assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse 75 percent of the approved costs for measures taken before, during and after storms to save lives, protect public health and safety, protect improved public and private property, as well as for emergency debris removal and infrastructure repairs.
Emergency assistance may also be provided to eligible private non-profit organizations that operate and maintain educational, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care and other essential governmental service facilities.
"Our priority is to help facilitate the removal and transport of collected debris to approved disposal sites," said Federal Coordinating Officer Justo Hernández.
Entities that can apply include state agencies, local governments, river authorities, public utilities, the Seneca Nation, the Cayuga Nation and schools.
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.