Charleston, WV -? Mitigation funding has been added to the federal disaster declaration now in effect in West Virginia as a result of Hurricane Isabel, according to the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services (WVOES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The addition of mitigation money means federal aid will be available to help pay for long-term projects in the state that will prevent or reduce damage from future natural disasters. The disaster declaration issued by President Bush on Sept. 23 only authorized federal funding for assistance to state and local governments in 10 counties for the repair or replacement of hurricane-damaged public facilities, and for debris removal.
State Coordinating Officer Stephen Kappa of WVOES said the broadened scope of the disaster declaration is important to all residents of the state. ?It will help fund mitigation projects in more areas than just the 10 counties most affected by Hurricane Isabel,? he said.
Carlos Mitchell, federal coordinating officer for FEMA, said mitigation is a cornerstone of the agency?s emergency management philosophy. ?It is a cost-effective means of lessening the devastating impact disasters have on people and property,? he said.
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.