HOLYOKE, MA. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has now obligated the first $2 million to reimburse seven Massachusetts counties for the eligible costs associated with their response to the December 11, 2008 ice storm.
More than 258 Massachusetts communities and eligible private-non-profits in the seven declared counties, as well as several state agencies, have applied for federal assistance through FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) program. These entities applied for aid to offset the costs of eligible resources associated with the state and local response during the incident period which lasted from December 11 through December 18, 2008.
These funds are made available to the Commonwealth which then allocates the funds back to the applicants based upon the projects and associated costs submitted by the applicant and subsequently approved by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and FEMA. The submission process is facilitated by kick-off meetings held by a FEMA project specialist and representatives from the entity applying. FEMA has held more than 185 kick-off meetings since January 14, 2009.
"The initial $2 million is the first step toward providing financial relief to the impacted communities, especially during these challenging financial times," says Mark H. Landry, FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer. Landry continued, "We anticipate the funds provided by FEMA to substantially increase as projects are identified and requests are made by the Applicants and subsequently reviewed and approved by MEMA and FEMA."
FEMA public assistance grants typically reimburse 75% of the eligible costs of projects that may include debris removal, emergency services related to the flooding, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. Eligible facilities include schools, libraries and other public buildings, roads, bridges, water control facilities, utilities and recreational facilities. Nonprofit organizations may also qualify for assistance to restore certain types of facilities that include educational, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care and others that provide essential government services. State and local applicants cover the remaining 25% of approved projects.
"These grants help restore funds spent responding to the ice storm," said MEMA Director Don Boyce. Boyce continued, "The partnership between the Commonwealth and FEMA remains strong and will help mitigate the effects of future events."
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.