OWATONNA, Minn. -- Disaster assistance has been approved for Martin County to help local governments rebuild public property damaged by the severe storms and flooding that occurred September 14 through September 27, according to officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).
Thomas J. Costello, FEMA's federal coordinating officer, said the assistance was approved following a review of damage data gathered by federal and state disaster recovery officials.
'Ensuring that vital community services are restored as quickly as possible is part of our continuing commitment to help Minnesota achieve a full and lasting recovery,' Costello said.
Affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations in Martin County 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.
The funds were authorized under the major disaster declaration issued by President Bush on October 7, 2004, and made available through FEMA's public assistance program for state and local governments. Procedures for requesting the assistance will be explained at an applicant briefing 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 Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.