WASHINGTON -- Federal disaster funds have been made available for Maine to supplement the emergency response to the record snowfall that hit the state early last December, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the assistance was authorized under an emergency declaration issued last night by President Bush following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers jurisdictions with record and near-record snowfall that occurred over the period of December 6-7, 2003.
After the President's action, Brown designated the following nine counties eligible for federal funding to pay part of the cost for emergency protective measures undertaken as a result of the snowstorm: Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset.
Under the emergency declaration, FEMA will provide reimbursement to state and local government agencies for 75 percent of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts, and personnel overtime related to emergency services in dealing with the snow over a 48-hour period. These are the crucial hours when work crews clear snow from emergency routes and roads to critical facilities to permit the passage of emergency vehicles. Related emergency measures such as sanding and salting will also be eligible for reimbursement.
Brown named James N. Russo of FEMA to coordinate the federal assistance in the affected areas.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.