KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that more than $1.1 million in federal funding would be made available to help reduce future damages caused by wind and ice storms in Independence, Mo.
"With the completion of this project, damages to residential service lines caused by wind and ice storms will be greatly reduced within the city of Independence," said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. The funds will be provided through the agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). HMGP provides 75 percent of the funds for approved projects that lessen or eliminate the loss of lives and property in future disasters. The remaining 25 percent must be provided from non-federal sources.
The ice storm that swept through the region in January 2002 left more than 400,000 residents without power, some for several days. Damage to electrical service lines was extensive. These funds will be used to replace existing overhead residential electric lines with new underground lines. The project will encourage 1,300 individual residents to have their power lines buried at no cost to themselves. Participation in the program by residents is entirely voluntary.
"Damages from that January ice storm highlighted a significant need in the city of Independence. We are pleased to work with the city to reduce the likelihood of future damages to power service lines," said FEMA Region VII Director Dick Hainje.
The total project cost is $1,560,000. Of that, the federal share is $1,170,000. The remaining 25 percent, $390,000, will be paid by Independence Power & Light. The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency will administer the funds.
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.