SALEM, Ore. -- In the aftermath of a disaster, state and local agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations may be eligible for grants from FEMA to help repair and restore essential public facilities and reimburse agencies for emergency costs. To date, FEMA has awarded $1,118,946 to Oregon in response to the area struck by severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides during the period of November 5-8, 2006.
Public assistance is authorized when it is determined that the harm to infrastructure and loss of vital public services exceeds the ability of state and local agencies to affect a reasonable and timely recovery. FEMA provides grants consisting of 75% of the costs directly to the state which, in turn, reimburses eligible applicants.
"Often this element of disaster recovery is not widely publicized, but it is a form of assistance that affects an entire community," said Abby Kershaw, state coordinating officer. "Public infrastructure may include roads, bridges, utilities, and public buildings. These are vital facilities and services used by everyone. We have already begun making payments to those affected by this disaster".
The public assistance program is open to state, local and tribal government agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations. Examples of eligible private nonprofit facilities are electric and water utilities, custodial care and medical organizations, and educational institutions.
"Ensuring that vital community services are restored is part of our continuing commitment to help Oregon achieve a full and lasting recovery," said Glen Sachtelben, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. "The Public Assistance program is designed to help states rebuild damaged public infrastructure."
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.