WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today designated 17 South Carolina counties eligible for federal disaster funds to help local governments recover from last month's crippling ice storm.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storm that occurred over the period of January 26-30.
Under the declaration, Brown said the state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and the repair or replacement of damaged public facilities.
The 17 counties designated eligible for the assistance by Brown following the declaration include Aiken, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Clarendon, Edgefield, Florence, Horry, Kershaw, Lexington, Marion, McCormick, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg.
Brown said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Carlos Mitchell of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. 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 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.