WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster funds have been made available for the U.S. Virgin Islands to help the territory recover from the effects of Tropical Storm Jeanne.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said President Bush authorized the aid under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA’s analysis of the territory’s request for federal assistance. The declaration covers damage to public property from the tropical storm that occurred over the period of September 14-17.
Under the declaration, Brown said the territory and certain private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for the restoration of damaged facilities on the islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. The funding also covers eligible territory costs for debris removal and emergency services related to the disaster.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be available on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks on the islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the territory and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Peter J. Martinasco of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate the federal relief effort. Martinasco 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.