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 authorized the use of federal disaster funds for Georgia to help state and local governments recover from the effects of Tropical Storm Frances.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the President took the action under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal assistance. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storm beginning September 3.
After the President’s action, Brown designated 56 counties eligible for federal funding to pay the state and affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations 75 percent of the approved costs for the restoration of damaged facilities. The funding also covers eligible state and local government costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the disaster.
The designated counties include Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Brantley, Brooks, Butts, Candler, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Echols, Elbert, Evans, Glynn, Greene, Houston, Irwin, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, Laurens, Lowndes, Macon, Monroe, Montgomery, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Rabun, Schley, Spalding, Sumter, Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Thomas, Tift, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Washington, Wheeler, Wilkes and Wilkinson.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that damage surveys are continuing and additional designations may be made later based on the results of the assessments.
James N. Russo of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Russo 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.