ST THOMAS, USVI -- Governmental and certain private nonprofit entities in the Territory affected by severe storms and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Otto that are eligible for federal assistance, must submit their Request for Public Assistance (RPA) forms to the Territorial Public Assistance Officer no later than December 6, 2010.
"This federal disaster declaration opens the door to help the Territory’s government rebuild their infrastructure and facilitate a swift recovery of vital public facilities and services. This will bring about a positive effect in the communities located within the disaster-declared areas," explained Phil Parr, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO).
As a result, FEMA’s Public Assistance (Infrastructure) and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs (HMGP) are now available to help the territorial with disaster-related repairs and replacements, reduce future damages, and minimize repetitive losses. The grants application process takes place through a partnership between FEMA and territorial officials.
FEMA’s Public Assistance (Infrastructure) grants reimburse the territorial government the cost of eligible emergency protective measures, including debris removal, and can fund the repair, restoration, reconstruction or replacement of public infrastructure such as roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and contents, public utilities and parks, and other recreational facilities damaged during a declared disaster. Some non-profit organizations may qualify for aid to restore certain types of facilities that include educational, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care, and other facilities that provide essential governmental types of services.
FEMA’s HMGP identifies the most useful and cost effective territorial government hazard mitigation programs or projects which may produce the greatest impact to prevent or reduce damages in future natural disasters. Those projects may include flood-proofing, rebuilding or strengthening structures, building bigger culverts, redesigning bridges to sustain greater water flows, or upgrading utilities, such as relocating power lines underground.
FEMA's Public Assistance (Infrastructure) and HMGP grants reimburse 75 percent of the project’s eligible costs while the Government of the USVI contributes the 25 percent non-federal share.
For additional information, contact the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency Director Mark Walters at (340) 774-2244, or by fax (340) 715-6847.
FEMA‘s mission 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.