Charleston, WV - Local governments in six West Virginia counties have been authorized for additional federal assistance to help pay for damage resulting from Hurricane Isabel, according to the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services (WVOES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The counties included in the amended disaster declaration are Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Morgan, Pendleton and Tucker. The expanded scope of disaster assistance means that local governments in these counties will be eligible for additional money for permanent infrastructure repair, explained Stephen Kappa, state coordinating officer of WVOES.
"The disaster declaration issued by President Bush on Sept. 23 authorized federal funding only for emergency services and debris removal in 10 northeastern counties," Kappa said. "We are pleased that aid for additional types of disaster damage will now be available in the six hardest-hit counties."
Carlos Mitchell, federal coordinating officer for FEMA, said the six counties have been approved for Categories C through G under the FEMA Public Assistance Program. "These categories address permanent repair to such infrastructure items as public buildings, equipment, roads, bridges, water facilities and utilities," he explained. The infrastructure program is funded on a cost-share basis with FEMA providing 75 percent of the funding and state and local governments covering the remaining 25 percent.
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.