Lacey, Wash. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) are partnering to help communities, tribes and certain non-profit organizations in 12 Washington counties pay for work necessitated by the December storms and flooding. The counties designated for Public (infrastructure) Assistance are: Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Wahkiakum.
FEMA will provide 75 percent of the cost of eligible projects, including eligible debris removal and disposal, emergency services related to the disaster, and the repair or replacement of damaged public facilities such as roads, buildings and utilities. The state of Washington and the applicants are responsible for the remaining 25 percent of the cost of eligible projects.
"Public Assistance helps restore communities by providing supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance, helping to restore the services and infrastructure that affect the overall quality of life," said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. "These vital funds will help Washington communities along the road to recovery."
In some instances, applicants have made arrangements to recycle as much of the storm-related debris as possible. Large piles of woody debris and logs that were left behind by raging floods and hurricane-force winds are being ground up into small pieces known as ?hog fuel,? which is burned to provide an alternative energy source for manufacturing. The recycled hog fuel is so valuable this debris is being collected and removed at no cost to taxpayers or the communities.
So far, more than 500 projects have been submitted to FEMA and WEMD for review. Project officers are in the field working with applicants, collecting data and writing project worksheets for Federal grant assistance. Currently, nearly $8 million has been approved for eligible projects.
In addition to the Public Assistance program, entities throughout the state of Washington are eligible for funds to reduce future disaster losses under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Hazard mitigation identifies projects local or state governments can implement to prevent or reduce damages in future flooding or other disasters. This mitigation may take the form of flood-proofing, removing structures from flood hazard zones, building bigger culverts to reduce flooding, or retrofitting structures to withstand greater flows.
State and local governments work together to develop projects that are practical, effective, environmentally sound, and cost effective, Projects submitted for funding are reviewed by an interagency review committee made up of representatives from state and local agencies. Funding is awarded by FEMA, and projects are administered by the state of Washington. For projects chosen, 75 percent of the funding comes from the HMGP.
"By helping local and state governments and looking for ways to reduce future damages, the Public Assistance and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs will help communities be safer in the future," said Kurt Hardin, state 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.