CROSS LANES, W.Va. -- West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III has executed a disaster aid agreement between State of West Virginia and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The federal government can now release funds to assist counties designated for public assistance to repair public facilities damaged by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides during the period of April 14-18, 2007.
President George W. Bush declared a major disaster for seven counties in West Virginia on May 1, making municipal, county and state governmental agencies, and certain qualifying non-profit organizations in Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Wayne and Wyoming counties eligible for Public Assistance.
The Public Assistance program is administered by the state with assistance from FEMA officials. The federal government pays 75 percent of the cost of eligible PA projects, with West Virginia paying the remaining 25 percent. In addition, communities throughout the state are eligible for funding under FEMA's hazard mitigation grant program to help fund projects to prevent or reduce damage in future disasters.
"We are placing strong emphasis on designing repair projects to reduce or prevent similar damage from future storms," said Jimmy J. Gianato, director of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the State Coordinating Officer for this disaster. "It saves taxpayer dollars to spend a little more money now to save a lot of money in the future. This is why hazard mitigation is a consideration in the development of every project."
The FEMA-State agreement was signed Tuesday in Logan County and appointed Gianato as the Governor's Authorized Representative, and Director of Mitigation and Recovery, Al Lisko as the Alternate.
In addition, Gianato will serve as the State Coordinating Officer and Al Lisko will serve as the Deputy State Coordinating Officer. Thomas J. Costello is the Federal Coordinating Officer.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.