Washington, D.C. - The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today designated four counties in southern Vermont eligible for federal disaster funds to help local governments recover from the effects of recent floods spawned by a siege of heavy rains that began in late July.
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 that occurred over the period of July 21 through August 18.
Brown said the President's action allows the state and affected local governments in the counties of Bennington, Orange, Windham and Windsor 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.
Brown, who designated the counties eligible for assistance following the declaration, said federal funding also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
James N. Russo of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Russo 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 Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.