CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Just one week after President Bush declared six West Virginia Counties eligible for assistance to repair infrastructure and public facilities, FEMA has approved funding for the first repair project.
The FEMA program, called Public Assistance, helps reimburse state and local governments and certain private, non-profit organizations for damages caused by disasters. The assistance is for January floods and mudslides that caused major infrastructure damage in Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Tyler and Wetzel counties.
State and FEMA officials have held briefings and kickoff meetings with local governments and state agencies to help them identify projects for which they will seek reimbursement. The applicants have until March 1, 2005 to apply for assistance.
“I am pleased that with our state partners we have been able to move this operation along quickly,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael E. Bolch. “It means that reimbursement funds will come back to these communities and government agencies as soon as possible.”
The federal share of the Public Assistance program is at least 75 percent of the eligible costs. FEMA also supplies funds to administer the projects. The state of West Virginia will pick up the remaining 25 percent of the project costs.
“In funding the remaining 25 percent of these costs, Gov. Manchin shows his commitment to help the local governments of West Virginia recover from this latest flooding,” said State Coordinating Officer Stephen Kappa.
Seven categories of projects are eligible for funds under the presidential declaration:
- Emergency debris removal costs
- Emergency protective measures
- Road systems
- Water control facilities
- Buildings and equipment
- Public utilities
- Recreation and other facilities
Project officers review applications for eligibility requirements. FEMA then provides its share of the cost to the state, which disburses the funds to the applicants.
While these grants are aimed at helping restore funds spent on government emergency services, debris removal, and infrastructure restoration, the goal is to help a community and all of its citizens recover from devastating natural disasters.
FEMA has provided nearly $26 million in assistance for repair of public infrastructure in West Virginia since the Spring floods of 2004.
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 Food Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.