LACEY, Wash. -- The President has declared a major disaster declaration for 19 Washington counties as a result of the severe winter storms, landslides and mudslides of Dec. 14-15. Under this declaration the Public Assistance (PA) program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is made available to entities in the following counties: Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, King, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston and Wahkiakum.
"The Presidential declaration opens the door to FEMA grants that help public entities with reconstruction of their infrastructure," said Libby Turner, Federal Coordinating Officer for this disaster. "The PA program strengthens communities which do not have the means or resources to bounce back from a disaster, helping to ensure a community's important public needs are met."
The PA program helps public agencies respond to disasters, recover from their impact, and mitigate against future disasters. PA grants reimburse State and local governments, tribal authorities, and certain private non-profit (PNP) organizations of a governmental nature for eligible costs associated with debris removal and emergency protective measures, as well as permanent repairs and replacement of public buildings and infrastructure. FEMA reimburses 75 percent of eligible cost.
All interested PNPs should begin the process by registering with FEMA through the state. FEMA will classify those PNP facilities as either critical or non-critical and will take their application or refer them to the SBA for a low-interest disaster loan to cover its property damages. Some examples of PNPs that may be referred to the SBA are food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, youth programs, YMCAs and YWCAs. PNPs may contact SBA toll free at 800-659-2955.
"The State and FEMA will conduct briefings to explain the public assistance process to applicants," said Washington State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin. "Applicants will be notified of their briefing date, time and location through their emergency management offices."
FEMA's Individual Assistance has not been authorized for this disaster. Those who have emergency needs from the storm should contact their local officials and voluntary agencies for assistance.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with State and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.