OLYMPIA, Wash. - When the severe winter storms dubbed 'Snowmageddon' hit Washington State in January of this year, airports, roads and schools closed, cars crashed, and trees and tons of debris blocked roads and knocked out power to more than 275,000 customers across the state.
Governor Christine Gregoire's request for disaster funding after the storm estimated damage at more than $32 million.
As of today, more than $354,800 has been approved for 21 of some 800 recovery projects. FEMA will pay 75 percent of that, nearly $266,000 in Public Assistance (PA) disaster relief dollars; the State and local governments will match 25 percent.
Without a doubt, having these dollars begin flowing into these disaster-struck communities will help them with budget shortfalls, the massive January disaster response hit these already strapped local governments hard. - Kurt Hardin, Washington Emergency Management Division's state coordinating officer
Following the March 5, 2012 Presidential disaster declaration, the State Emergency Management Division (EMD) and FEMA began processing public assistance applications throughout the 11 disaster declared counties. Projects in Seattle, Lacey, Renton, the Shelton School District, the Cedar River Water and Sewer District, as well as others, were among the first applicants to be approved.
"Our primary goal is to get to 'yes' on projects so we can help these Washington communities recover as quickly as possible," said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Karl at FEMA's Lacey-based field office. "This initial funding approval is the first of many to come."
Eligible counties include Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, and Wahkiakum. FEMA will pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures, repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas, and similar publicly owned facilities.
Under the PA program, the state is able to forward federal funds to eligible state, local and tribal governments as well as certain private non-profit organizations providing essential community services that incurred disaster-related costs.
Information about the WA/FEMA PA process is available at: http://www.emd.wa.gov/.http://www.oregon.gov/OMD/OEM/fin_rec/dr-4055.shtml