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 to help local governments in Southern California recover from the effects of another round of severe storms that struck the area last February.
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 FEMA’s analysis of the state’s request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to public property from severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mud and debris flows that occurred over the period of February 16-23. Federal disaster aid was authorized earlier this year for the series of storms that hit the same area of the state in late December and early January.
After the declaration, Brown designated the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Ventura eligible for federal funds to pay the state and affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be available on a cost-shared basis for approved hazard mitigation projects in the counties of Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
David Fukutomi of FEMA was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Fukutomi 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.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, 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.