SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Over the weekend the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) brought in a cadre of Public Assistance Coordinators (PACs) to brief local officials on the process of applying for federal disaster assistance for public damages that incurred during the May 28 and June 16 floods.
“In order to expedite the process, we’ve assigned a PAC to each county included in the recent presidential disaster declaration,” said Federal Coordinating Officer, Justin DeMello.
The Rosebud Reservation and nine South Dakota counties are eligible for public assistance. The eligible counties are Haakon, Jackson, Marshall, Mellette, Minnehaha, Todd, Tripp, Turner and Yankton.
PACs have already begun holding individual meetings with local governments and Rosebud leaders to go over public damage estimates. The PACs will explain the application process and how applicants can document their losses and/or other disaster-related expenses.
FEMA Public Assistance program funds 75 percent of reimbursements to local entities, while 25 percent of non-federal costs are divided among state and local governments.
Such eligible reimbursement costs may include debris removal; immediate 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.
The State of South Dakota Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is in charge of administering the reimbursement program. According to OEM officials, 202 information packets were sent to all government entities located in the nine counties covered by the presidential disaster declaration. To date, 51 divisions of county, city, township or other governments replied that they do plan to apply for assistance. One hundred twenty-nine others indicated they had experienced no damages.
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.