LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Typically when disaster strikes, the first reaction is to address personal and family safety issues, followed by a concern for material losses. Fortunately, there are mechanisms in place that immediately respond to the urgent needs of citizens. There is another equally important element of disaster recovery that is not so widely publicized called Public Assistance (PA).
The Public Assistance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is a form of assistance that addresses an entire community but usually not in the immediate and direct way that individual assistance programs do.
FEMA's PA benefits everyone-neighborhoods, cities and states. PA dollars clean up the community, repair bridges people cross every day going to work and school, put water systems and utilities back in order, rebuild libraries and replace the damaged books, repair hospitals and emergency services, rebuild schools and universities, and restore damaged public parks so that families can enjoy them again.
"FEMA Public Assistance dollars come to the community through a partnership of cost sharing between the state, local authorities and the federal government," says FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Moore. "FEMA picks up 75 percent of the eligible cost of putting a community back on its feet, and in Arkansas, the remainder comes from the state and the applicant splitting the remaining 25 percent."
Types of entities that may be eligible for Public Assistance include:
- State government agencies;
- Local governments, and special districts;
- Private nonprofit organizations that own or operate facilities that provide essential government-type services; and
- Federally-recognized tribes.
Under the presidential declaration, the counties Ashley, Howard, Miller, Polk, and Sevier are designated for Public Assistance. The deadline for submitting a request for Public Assistance to the state is May 27, 2009.
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.