Washington, DC - The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has authorized the use of federal disaster funds for West Virginia to help local governments recover from the effects of Hurricane Isabel.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA Director and Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response at Homeland Security, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration signed last night following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal assistance.
Immediately after the declaration, Brown designated the counties of Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan, Pendleton, Randolph and Tucker eligible for federal funding to pay affected local governments 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures undertaken in response to Isabel beginning on September 18.
Brown indicated that damage surveys are continuing and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated later based on the results of the assessments. He named Carlos Mitchell of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Mitchell 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.