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March 23, 2016

Obama declares FEMA relief aid for Winter Storm Jonas in Pennsylvania

Federal funding made available to Commonwealth and local governments for damage repairs and hazard mitigation

President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Wednesday that federal disaster emergency aid has been made available to Pennsylvania communities affected by the blizzard that barrelled across the East Coast in late January, dropping nearly two feet of snow in some parts of the state.

As a result of the decision, federal funding can now be obtained on a cost-sharing basis by the Commonwealth, local governments and certain nonprofit organizations to fund emergency work and repair damaged facilities.

The funding assistance for damage repairs applies to the following Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Somerset, Westmoreland, and York.

All projects that receive federal funds will be administered by the state under the following guidelines:

• Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency work and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private nonprofit organizations engaged in community service activities.

• Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for removing debris from public areas and for emergency measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health. Emergency protective measures assistance is available to the commonwealth and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, including snow assistance, for a continuous 48-hour period during or proximate to the incident period.

• Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by the commonwealth and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.

All Pennsylvania counties are eligible to obtain federal funding for hazard mitigation measures.

Newly appointed Federal Coordinating Officer Donald L. Keldsen will handle federal recovery operations in the affected area. Additional designations may be made at a later date if the state submits additional requests warranted by further damage assessments.

All application procedures for federal funding will be explained by recovery officials at a series of upcoming applicant briefings to be announced in the affected area.