WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Bush has ordered the release of federal disaster funds for the Northern Mariana Islands to help meet immediate emergency needs in the area struck by Super Typhoon Chaba.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued directly after receiving FEMA's analysis of the commonwealth's request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage from flooding, high surf, storm surge and high winds spawned by the storm beginning August 21.
Following the declaration, Brown designated the commonwealth and affected local governments on the islands of Rota, Saipan and Tinian eligible for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the storm, including requested emergency work undertaken by the federal government. Funds also will be available to local governments on a cost-shared basis for approved hazard mitigation projects on the islands of Rota, Saipan and Tinian.
Brown indicated that other jurisdictions and additional forms of assistance may be designated later as conditions allow damage to be assessed in the stricken area. He named William Lokey of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
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.