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Debris Removal Deadline Extended for Areas in Katrina's Storm Surge

From: FEMA     Filed 8/24/06 GCN

At the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, an estimated 99 percent of land-based debris that resulted from Hurricane Katrina has been removed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, tasked by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the removal of debris from the three hardest-hit Mississippi coastal counties, will wrap up its debris operations in Mississippi Aug. 28, 2006.

Even though most debris in Mississippi has been removed, Gov. Haley Barbour requested and received a six-month extension of the current Aug. 28, 2006 debris removal deadline. The new deadline is Feb. 28, 2007. This extension applies only to properties located within the official storm surge inundated areas of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.

Debris removal from public rights of way (ROW), including the continued identification and removal of concrete slab debris from the ROW, is limited to those property addresses that received regular garbage pickup service from the local government prior to Katrina. This will allow slab removal from homes and small businesses but not from large commercial businesses that generally contract specifically for garbage pickup.

Property owners who had substantial damage from Katrina floodwaters may be eligible to apply for assistance with demolition and removal of their damaged property. For a property to be declared eligible, it must have incurred 50 percent or greater structural damage.

Those who wish to apply for debris-removal assistance must do so in writing to their local building official or other designated public official. Questions should be directed to local governmental representatives.

All new requests for debris removal will be evaluated and approved on a case-by-case basis by state and local authorities. Applicants must provide specific documentation to establish that demolition relieves an immediate threat to public health and safety.

The funding for this debris removal extension will continue at a 90/10 percent cost share with FEMA paying 90 percent. The state and local governments will share the remaining 10 percent.

FEMA and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency jointly coordinate and monitor debris removal operations while ensuring appropriate guidelines are followed for the removal of debris from public and private lands.

Primary criteria for private and commercial debris removal assistance include;

  • The structures were damaged by Hurricane Katrina;
  • The structures were determined to be structurally unsound and pose an immediate threat to the public health and safety; and
  • The work is completed within the Feb. 28, 2007 deadline for such emergency work.

Officials continue to emphasize that not all submitted properties will meet FEMA criteria. When projects submitted for reimbursement are declared ineligible, the applicant will be required to comply with community codes and standards and remove the identified hazard using their own funds.

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

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