PORTSMOUTH, NH - More than $1 million in federal aid has been disbursed to the State of New Hampshire to help local communities recover from the severe storms that occurred during the period of February 23 - March 3.
At its peak, the massive storms that brought high winds and heavy rain left more than 330,000 without power in New Hampshire and more than 1 million across the Northeast. As a result, President Obama declared a major disaster in six counties on March 29 making federal funds available for public infrastructure projects.
"This was a tough winter with the succession of storms that hit across the region," said Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "We're working with the state to help coordinate as efficient and speedy recovery as possible."
FEMA assists community recovery efforts through its Public Assistance (PA) program. This program provides funding to local governments and municipalities for the repair, replacement, or restoration of public facilities, as well as costs incurred for disaster cleanup or emergency actions taken to protect lives or property.
"These types of events can put an enormous strain on town budgets," said Mike Poirier, state coordinating officer for the New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM). "This assistance is critical to helping our communities recover in a timely manner."
The federal share of eligible costs is at least 75 percent, while the remainder is split between the state and local government. The PA program is only activated following a presidential disaster declaration and provides grant assistance to applicants including state agencies, local governments, and certain nonprofit organizations.
FEMA's PA program may only provide assistance for projects that are located in a disaster-declared area and are the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant. The program cannot provide assistance for projects that are under the jurisdiction of other federal agencies, such as roads and bridges that are a part of the federal highway system or facilities located on federal lands like wildlife refuges and national parks.