NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Arkansas recently finished their initial meetings with public assistance applicants.
Eighty-two kick-off meetings around Arkansas provided applicants the first opportunity to sit down with both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state to establish a partnership and determine eligible, disaster-related damages. Applicants, such as state and local government agencies and certain nonprofit organizations, were invited to discuss in detail their proposed projects, their needs and the eligibility and documentation requirements that are most critical for them.
For FEMA and the state, the final kick-off meeting marks the end of one phase in the Public Assistance process and the beginning of another phase. This process for FEMA and state officials is intensive and complex. Multiple meetings with hundreds of applicants are needed to ensure that all eligible disaster-related expenses are accurately documented. Such expenses may include costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repair of public infrastructure.
Upon determination of eligibility and development of projects worksheets, FEMA and the state review the proposed projects to ensure that projects comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Some projects also may need to be reviewed for special considerations such as environmental and historical impacts. Discussion with applicants and thorough review may also generate solutions to provide protection from future damages through hazard mitigation measures and planning for disaster recovery.
Since the Oct. 29 severe storms and flooding, 82 kick-off meetings have taken place in Arkansas resulting in the proposal of nearly 1,970 public assistance projects to date.
Obligated dollars from FEMA for approved public assistance projects currently total more than $120,000.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.