WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster funds have been made available for Maine to supplement state and local recovery efforts in communities struck by floods last December.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said President Bush authorized the aid under a major disaster declaration issued today following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal assistance. The declaration covers damage to public property from flooding caused by periods of heavy rain, snowmelt and river ice jams that occurred from December 10 through December 31, 2003.
After the President’s action, Brown designated the counties of Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford, Piscataquis, Somerset and Waldo eligible for federal funding to pay affected local governments 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and the restoration of damaged public facilities. Federal funds also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Brown indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named James N. Russo of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.