Pago Pago, American Samoa -- After a federally declared disaster, like the earthquake, tsunami and flooding of September 29, 2009, getting funds to repair or rebuild damaged public infrastructure is a critical part of the response and recovery process.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program reimburses Territory/state and local governments for the actual costs for work required as a result of the disaster. The program also provides funds for certain hazard mitigation projects.
Eligible work is documented on a Project Worksheet (PW). The PW is used to record a detailed description of damage, the scope of eligible work, estimated or actual cost, and special considerations associated with the project. FEMA then reviews, approves and obligates the entire federal share of that project. Once FEMA obligates a PW, the funds become immediately available to the Territory/state for disbursement to applicants.
To facilitate the processing of the PA grants, FEMA distinguishes between emergency work and permanent work that requires repairs or replacement of public facilities including roads, buildings and schools that are not covered by other Federal grant programs such as Department of Energy, Federal Highways Administration and Federal Aviation Administration, etc. FEMA further divides disaster-related work into seven categories.
The Federal share of assistance in American Samoa is 90% of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration. The President has authorized 100% Federal share of assistance for a 30 consecutive day period chosen by each applicant for debris clearance and emergency work.
Category A: Debris Removal – Clearance of trees and woody debris; building wreckage, sand, mud, silt and gravel; vehicles; and other material deposited on public and, in very limited cases, private property.
Category B: Emergency Protective Measures – Measures taken before, during and immediately after a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety, and eliminate or reduce an immediate threat of significant damage to improved public and private property.
Examples of eligible emergency protective measures are:
- Life and Safety forces (police, fire, ambulance and guards)
- Provision of shelters or emergency care
- Bracing/shoring up of damaged structures
- Emergency repairs
- Emergency demolition
- Removal of health and safety hazards
- Category C : Roads and Bridges – Repair of roads, bridges, shoulders, ditches, lighting and signs
- Category D : Water Control Facilities – Repair of irrigation systems, drainage channels and pumping facilities; repair of levees, dams and flood control channels is eligible but limited
- Category E : Buildings and Equipment – Repair or replacement of public buildings, including contents and systems; heavy equipment; and vehicles
- Category F : Utilities – Repair of water treatment and delivery systems; power generation facilities and distribution lines; and sewage collection and treatment facilities
- Category G : Parks, Recreational Facilities, Other – Repair and restoration of parks, playgrounds, pools, cemeteries and beaches; work otherwise not covered in categories A-F