WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster funds have been made available for South Carolina to help communities in the counties of Berkeley, Charleston and Williamsburg recover from the effects of Tropical Storm Gaston, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said President Bush authorized the assistance under a major declaration issued following a review of the agency’s analysis of the state’s request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storm that occurred over the period of August 28-30.
Brown said the state and affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations in Berkeley, Charleston and Williamsburg counties are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs 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 storm.
In addition, Brown said federal funding will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis 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.
Michael Bolch of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Bolch said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected area.
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.