NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Under the severe storms and flooding disaster declared December 9, 2009, federal disaster aid has been made available for the Commonwealth of Virginia to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding associated with the November Nor’easter and the remnants of Tropical Depression Ida.
Aid in the form of Public Assistance or infrastructure assistance is available to the counties of Halifax, Isle of Wight, King and Queen, Northampton, and Surry and the independent cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.
Public Assistance Coordinators/PAC Crew leaders work with state and local officials to file Project Worksheet applications with appropriate documentation to FEMA. These project worksheets spell out the project purpose, cost, timeline and other information. An applicant may have a number of projects – bridges, road washouts, buildings, etc. and the projects fall into seven categories:
Category A: Debris removal on public property.
Category B: Emergency protective measures, including police services, taken before, during and immediately after a disaster to protect life and property, include short-term, mass-care sheltering.
Category C: Roads and bridges, including ditches, lighting and signs.
Category D: Water control facilities — irrigation systems, drainage channels and pumping facilities; limited repair of levees, dams and flood control channels;
Category E: Buildings and equipment — repair or replacement of buildings, contents, systems and vehicles.
Category F: Utilities — water treatment and delivery, power generation facilities and sewage collection and treatment.
Category G: Parks and recreational facilities, municipally owned cemeteries, engineered beaches and work not covered under other categories.
Whether or not FEMA and the Commonwealth approve a project depends on positive answers to five main issues:
Is the applicant eligible? As a general rule, Public Assistance grants are for state agencies, local governments, and some private non-profit organizations. To qualify, the latter must provide a governmental-type service to the general public.
Is the work eligible? The project must be emergency work — action taken to save lives or protect property or for permanent work — restoration of eligible infrastructure. The work must be required as a direct result of the declared disaster event.
Is the facility eligible? The applicant must own the facility. If the facility is leased, the applicant must be legally responsible to make the repairs.
Is the area eligible? The project must be located in a county or independent city that is listed in the disaster declaration.
Is the cost eligible? The project cost must be reasonable and necessary.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.