WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today designated the Kansas counties of Douglas and Wyandotte eligible for federal disaster funds to help local governments recover from the effects of severe storms that hit the area late last month.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said President Bush authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of the agency’s analysis of the state’s request for federal aid. Brown made the designations immediately after the declaration, which covers damage to public property from severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred August 27-30.
Under the declaration, Brown said the state and affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations in the two designated 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 disaster.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be provided for the state on a cost-shared 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.
Thomas Costello of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Costello 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.