BATON ROUGE, La. – For scores of Louisiana communities battered by Hurricane Isaac, clearing out piles of debris has been one of the most difficult and time-consuming challenges. Through hard work and persistence over the past two months, debris piles are dwindling and, in many cases, disappearing altogether.
With bills from cleanup crews now reaching the local parishes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working to fulfill its role in the process: getting supplementary federal funding through the state into local coffers. FEMA does not perform the actual debris removal work; it reimburses the local governments that contract for the eligible work.
On Monday, FEMA announced it has issued more than $50 million in Public Assistance (PA) grants for reimbursement of debris removal costs for Plaquemines and St. John parishes, two of the hardest hit in Louisiana.
The total includes the largest-to-date PA grant in Louisiana for Hurricane Isaac, amounting to about $29 million for right-of-way debris removal in Plaquemines Parish. An additional grant, for nearly $19 million, has also been awarded to reimburse the parish for private property debris removal there.
Meanwhile, a PA grant totaling about $3.5 million has been awarded to St. John Parish for right-of-way debris removal.
“The parishes have made significant progress in their efforts to clean up and remove tons of debris caused by Hurricane Isaac,” said Gerard M. Stolar, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer. “FEMA is helping to support our parish partners with millions of dollars in supplemental funding.”
Under FEMA’s PA program, the agency obligates funds to the state for 75 percent of eligible costs, while the applicant covers the remaining 25 percent. The state forwards the federal funds to the eligible local governments or organizations that incurred costs.
For debris removal to be eligible the work must be necessary to:
- Eliminate an immediate threat to lives, public health and safety,
- Eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public and private property when the measures are cost effective, or
- Ensure the economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community-at-large.
For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/disaster/4080 or www.gohsep.la.gov. You can follow FEMA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/femaregion6 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMA. Also visit our blog at www.fema.gov/blog.