“This is the largest debris mission in the history of West Virginia,” said Gary Brand, FEMA’s Public Assistance Branch Chief in Charleston. “More than 1.5 million cubic yards of woody debris were scattered over the 18 declared counties. FEMA dollar totals for the Hurricane Sandy public assistance cleanup and infrastructure repair in West Virginia may top $11 million.”
Under the Hurricane Sandy federal disaster declaration signed by President Obama on Nov. 27, 18 West Virginia counties became eligible for public assistance. To date, FEMA has approved more than 35 projects submitted by local governments.
The 18 WV counties eligible for FEMA Public Assistance aid are Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lewis, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur, Webster and Wyoming.
FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Dolph Diemont noted that funding for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program is not solely through FEMA.
“Public assistance dollars come to the community through a cost share agreement between FEMA and the state. FEMA pays 75 percent and the state 25 percent,” said Diemont.
State Coordinating Officer Jimmy Gianato said, “We are working closely with FEMA as well as cities and counties in the damaged areas to make certain debris from Hurricane Sandy is removed in a timely manner and infrastructure repairs are completed on time.”
Jan. 26 is the deadline for the State and local governments to apply for reimbursements for recovery and cleanup costs incurred after Hurricane Sandy and for aid to repair or replace public buildings and infrastructure damaged by the windstorm, officials said.
In addition to debris removal and emergency protective measures, Public Assistance funds may be used for such projects as:
• Repair of roads and bridges
• Repair or replacement of buildings, including their contents and the repair or replacement of heavy equipment and vehicles
• Repair and restoration of recreational facilities such as parks, playgrounds and pools.
Public Assistance funds are also available to private non-profit organizations such as volunteer fire departments, officials added.