OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Because of a federal disaster declaration following the Jan. 27 through Feb. 4 winter storms and slides, the State of Washington is in the process of receiving funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that will help more than 60 applicants, including seven tribes, in 11 counties with disaster recovery expenses.
"Ensuring that vital community services are restored is part of our continuing commitment to help Washington achieve a full and lasting recovery," said Lee Champagne, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. "It's the Public Assistance program that deals with the recovery of damaged public infrastructure."
The federal funds are made available under FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) program. Under the program, which is administered by the state, eligible disaster-related costs are reimbursed to government and certain private non-profit units providing essential government-like services in the area of emergency protective measures, debris removal, and restoration of public facilities.
"Often this element of disaster recovery is not widely publicized, but it is a form of assistance that affects an entire community," said Kurt Hardin, state coordinating officer. "Public infrastructure may include roads, bridges, utilities, and public buildings. These are vital facilities and services used by everyone."
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003