FEMA's Public Assistance Program - Building The Road To Recovery

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Release date: 
May 5, 2011
Release Number: 

Honolulu, Hawaii -- After a federally declared disaster, such as the Hawaii Tsunami of March 11, 2011, receiving federal funds 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 state and local governments for the actual costs to repair or rebuild damaged public infrastructure. 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, 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 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. FEMA further divides disaster-related work into seven categories.

The Federal share of assistance is not less than 75% of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration.

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 protect improved public and private property.

FEMA's Public Assistance Program, continued

Examples of eligible emergency protective measures are:

Security forces (police and guards)

  • Provision of shelters or emergency care
  • Sandbagging
  • Bracing/shoring up of damaged structures
  • Emergency repairs
  • Emergency demolition
  • Removal of health and safety hazards

Permanent Work

  • 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

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

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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