SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated $5.33 million as the federal share of the cost of repairs to public property in 14 Arkansas counties damaged by severe storms, flooding and landslides that began on April 19 and continued through May 7. These obligations cover 388 repair projects in the designated counties, including seven repair projects in Devil’s Den State Park. Funds for repairs to the dam at Devil’s Den State Park are pending approval.
President George W. Bush issued a major disaster declaration for Baxter, Boone, Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Newton, Searcy, Stone, Washington and Woodruff counties on May 7. Independence County was added to the list of designated counties on May 21.
A project could be either a single repair, such as a road washout, or it could be repairs at multiple sites, such as repairs at various locations along a road or sewer line. Repair work at a complex containing multiple facilities, such as a school campus or a park could also be considered as one project.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management administers the Public Assistance program. FEMA pays 75 percent of the obligated program costs, and non-federal costs are divided among state and local governments.
The Public Assistance program funds essential government costs. The categories of expenses eligible for assistance can include debris removal; emergency protective measures, including overtime pay for emergency workers; repair of roads and bridges; repair of water control facilities; repair of public buildings and equipment; repair of public utilities; and repair of recreational facilities such as parks. Certain nonprofit agencies providing government-like services may also be eligible for assistance under the program.
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.