Pasadena, CA. -- After a federally declared disaster, like the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Imperial County April 4, getting money to reimburse communities for emergency response and debris removal, and to repair or rebuild damaged public facilities is a critical part of the response and recovery process.
Public Assistance (PA) grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), by virtue of a May 7 presidential disaster declaration, and the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), as authorized by Governor Schwarzenegger, is extending a helping hand to Imperial County and its communities to clean up and repair damage resulting from the Easter Sunday earthquake.
FEMA and Cal EMA recently met with representatives from Imperial County governments, agencies, districts and certain private nonprofit (PNP) organizations to explain the application process for obtaining federal and state PA funds. While these grants are intended for governments and organizations, their purpose is to help the county and all its citizens recover from devastating natural disasters.
The preliminary damage assessment conducted by FEMA, Cal EMA and Imperial County officials identified more than $90 million in quake related response costs and damages to public facilities. The PA grant money will be used to repair roads, put water systems back in order, rebuild schools, and repair public buildings, like libraries, schools and city halls.
Recovery in Imperial County will not be without its challenges, but FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman said the agency will work diligently to balance expediency and accountability while supporting state and local counterparts in the recovery effort.
"FEMA is committed to the recovery and rebuilding of Imperial County and will remain on the ground until the job is finished," Coachman said.
State officials said they recognize the financial burden of response and recovery costs on city and county agencies and special districts in Imperial County and are committed to helping ease that burden.
"Our goal after every disaster is to help agencies obtain the maximum disaster assistance they are eligible for under the law," said Cal EMA Secretary, and State Coordinating Officer, Matthew Bettenhausen.
"The combination of federal and state reimbursements now available will help significantly reduce the impact of the earthquake's cost on local budgets."
FEMA reimburses successful applicants for 75 percent of their eligible expenses. Cal EMA covers an additional 18.75 percent of the costs incurred by city and county agencies and special districts, leaving those agencies to pay 6.25 percent.
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.