WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster funds have been made available for South Dakota to help rebuild community property damaged by periods of flooding rains that started in late May, according to the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said President Bush authorized the assistance under a major declaration issued today 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 and flooding beginning May 28.
Under the declaration, Brown said the state and affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for the repair or replacement of damaged facilities. The funding also covers eligible state and local government costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the disaster.
The jurisdictions designated for the assistance by Brown after the declaration include the Rosebud Indian Reservation and the counties of Haakon, Jackson, Marshall, Mellette, Minnehaha, Todd, Tripp, and Turner.
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.
Justin DeMello of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. DeMello 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.