FEMA flood aid tops $304M
The August floods that upended the lives of tens of thousands of families across 26 declared parishes also washed away the landmarks of their communities. Critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, public buildings and schools proved as vulnerable to flood waters as had the smallest bungalow.
As of March 1, FEMA’s Public Assistance program has obligated $304,315,474 to reimburse local and state governments as well as certain private nonprofits for the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure. The funds also cover debris removal and emergency response activities.
Among the eligible applicants is the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, which applied for more than $900,000 in FEMA grants. The Gonzales Environmental Enhancement Facility in Ascension Parish was deemed eligible to receive nearly $996,000, while the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will receive close to $596,000. Nearly $63,000 will go to parks and recreation facilities in East Baton Rouge, while additional funds have been earmarked for road repairs and public safety facilities in the declared parishes. And a total of $60 million in grants has been obligated for repairing schools in eight parishes: Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Lafayette, Livingston, St. Landry, Tangipahoa and Vermillion.
The Public Assistance program offers supplemental financial assistance on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities in designated parishes. The PA program encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for certain hazard mitigation measures.
FEMA typically reimburses 75 percent of eligible PA expenses. But, because of the magnitude of the disaster, the agency will reimburse 90 percent of eligible expenses. FEMA pays the federal portion to the state which then disburses the funds to the applicants.