Charleston, W. VA. -- West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials have signed a formal agreement authorizing federal aid for infrastructure damaged caused by January's floods and mudslides.
The aid, called Public Assistance (PA), goes to local governments, communities, county and state agencies and some private non-profit organizations in the six counties declared eligible on Feb.1 by President Bush. The six counties are Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Tyler and Wetzel.
West Virginia State Coordinating Officer Stephen Kappa said federal, state and local teams have already started inspecting disaster related damage to public facilities and will report on the scope of the work and the estimated cost.
For projects that are approved, FEMA will reimburse up to 75 percent of the costs. The funding covers eligible state and local government costs for debris removal and emergency services; damaged to public facilities such as schools, libraries, and other public buildings; roads and bridges; utilities; water control; and recreational facilities.
The six designated counties are also eligible for another assistance program known as the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which aims to reduce damages from future flooding.
Federal coordinating officer Michael Bolch said, "by helping local and state governments and looking for ways to reduce future damages, federal disaster assistance has an impact on every individual in those communities."
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and effectively manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.