HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- On June 30, President George W. Bush signed a disaster declaration for 12 counties in southwestern Arkansas, making assistance available to them as they recover from the severe storms and flooding that took place from May 30 through July 9. State and federal disaster recovery officials want to remind all eligible local governments and certain nonprofit organizations in those counties that the deadline to apply for assistance is July 30, 2004.
The counties listed under the disaster declaration are: Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, and Sevier.
Eligible applicants include state agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit entities. Examples of eligible private nonprofit facilities are electric and water utilities, custodial care, medical organizations and educational institutions. These nonprofits must hold current federal tax-exempt status or state certification of nonprofit status under state law.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) have held briefings for public officials and representatives of certain private, nonprofit organizations within those counties to explain how to apply for assistance. Local governments and private, nonprofit organizations in the declared counties that haven’t already requested assistance need to do so by contacting ADEM Public Assistance officials at 501-622-3029 by July 30, 2004. They can also request additional information by calling that number.
The Public Assistance program is managed by ADEM with the federal government contributing 75 percent of approved project funding. The remaining costs are split evenly between the state and local governments. Assistance may take the form of reimbursement for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and costs to repair or replace roads, bridges and other public facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding that began May 30.
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 Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.