WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster funds have been made available to help communities in northeastern North Dakota recover from the effects of flooding that started in late March, 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 President Bush authorized the assistance under a major declaration signed last night following a review of the agency?s analysis of the state?s request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to public property from severe storms, flooding and ground saturation beginning March 26.
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 cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and the repair or replacement of damaged public facilities.
The jurisdictions designated eligible for the assistance by Brown following the declaration include the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation and the counties of Benson, Cavalier, Grand Forks, Griggs, Nelson, Pembina, Ramsey, Steele, Traill and Walsh.
Brown said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available 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.
Anthony Russell of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Russell 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.