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Public Assistance Available for Critical Infrastructure Impacted by 2010 Savoonga Storm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHS&EM) has sent  a Public Assistance Disaster Recovery Team to Savoonga and the Norton Sound area to conduct Public Assistance applicant briefings, take Public Assistance Applications, and provide disaster recovery technical assistance. The state’s Public Assistance program provides funds to state, tribal, and local governments, as well as certain private-nonprofit organizations, to repair eligible critical infrastructure damaged as a result of a declared state disaster.

“We have been working with many of the Public Assistance applicants since the early hours of this event. Some agencies and organizations have already completed the necessary repairs to return their facilities to a pre-disaster condition and are now seeking reimbursement,” said John Madden, Director of DHS&EM. “The Public Assistance teams will help each eligible applicant utilize the state’s Public Assistance program to its fullest.”

Beginning on Dec. 26 and continuing through Jan. 6, a severe winter storm with extremely low temperatures disrupted electrical transmission lines and left multiple buildings in Savoonga without power for several days. On January 14, 2011, Governor Sean Parnell declared a state disaster and activated the state’s Public and Individual Disaster Assistance grant programs. Public building, utilities, and other critical infrastructure damaged as a direct result of the declared disaster event may be eligible for Public Assistance.

“A disaster can have a devastating effect on a community. Residents will return and rebuild their homes once  essential services and critical facilities are restored,” said David Andrews, DHS&EM Disaster Assistance Program Manager. “Public Assistance ensures a community is viable, which in turn allows people to return to their normal condition.”

The City of Savoonga and other response entities incurred emergency response costs while providing for the immediate life-safety needs of affected residents during the disaster event. These entities may be eligible for full or partial reimbursement through the state’s Public Assistance program.

The deadline for state, tribal, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to apply for public assistance is February 13, 2011. Potential Public Assistance applicants can contact Public Assistance Branch Chief Al Cavallo at 1-800-478-2337 with any questions or concerns.

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