ATLANTA, Ga. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that disaster assistance has been made available for 23 additional Georgia counties to help local governments rebuild public property damaged by Tropical Storm Frances.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the counties were added to the list of eligible jurisdictions based on a review of damage data gathered by federal and state disaster recovery officials.
The newly designated counties are Baker, Bleckley, Calhoun, Camden, Dougherty, Emanuel, Grady, Hancock, Harris, Hart, Jeff Davis, Lanier, Long, McIntosh, Pike, Taliaferro, Toombs, Treutlen, Ware, Wayne, Webster, Wilcox, and Worth.
Counties originally designated to receive aid are 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.
Each of the counties is approved for all seven categories of aid to state and local governments: debris removal, emergency protective measures, road systems and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and contents, public utilities, and parks and other recreational properties.
“Ensuring that vital community services are restored as quickly as possible is part of our continuing commitment to help Georgia achieve a full and lasting recovery,” said FEMA’s Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer.
Local governments in the designated counties are eligible to apply for federal funds to help pay the costs of repairing storm damage to public property and facilities. The funds were authorized under the major disaster declaration issued by President Bush on September 24, 2004, and made available through FEMA’s disaster assistance program for state and local governments.
“Under the expanded assistance,” said State Coordinating Officer Mike Sherberger, “affected local governments in both the newly designated counties as well as in the originally named counties are eligible to apply for federal funds to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings, and utilities.”
Procedures for requesting the assistance are explained at a series of applicant briefings for local officials.
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.