President extends FEMA reimbursement for communities

President Bush today made additional disaster assistance available to Mississippi by extending 100 percent federal funding for some debris removal and certain emergency protective measures.

Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including those involving direct federal assistance, will be reimbursed at 100 percent of the costs incurred through the new deadline of Jan. 15. These projects fall under the Public Assistance program of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’ve made great progress in helping Mississippi with debris removal operations. With these additional funds, we can continue providing temporary structures and equipment for schools and funding programs to repair or replace infrastructure damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina,” said Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer for the disaster in Mississippi.

Mayor A.J. Holloway also welcomed the news. “This announcement by President Bush is very encouraging and very appreciated,” the mayor said. “I also want to thank Governor Barbour and our Congressional delegation for their efforts on this issue.

“With an estimated 3 million cubic yards of debris remaining to be hauled from our city, it’s vital that we continue this work, and we certainly couldn’t continue at the current pace without this vital funding.”

Federal funding for projects reimbursed through FEMA’s Public Assistance program will be authorized at 90 percent of total eligible costs beginning Jan. 16. Normally, the federal share of disaster recovery for Public Assistance is 75 percent. This share has been increased because of the scope of this disaster.

“This is good news,” said Robert Latham, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. “This extension of federal funding gives us more time to remove debris from approved property in Mississippi.”

The President has extended the funding deadline twice before. Under the Aug. 29 major disaster declaration issued for Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina, federal funding for these Public Assistance projects was set at 100 percent of the total eligible costs for 60 days.

The President amended his declaration on Oct. 22 and extended the period for 100 percent federal funding through Nov. 26. With this extension, the period for 100 percent funding runs through mid-January.