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Disaster Application Deadline Dec. 1

(Lincoln, Neb.) (Nov. 25, 1997) - State and federal disaster recovery officials are urging political subdivisions and certain non-profit organizations that have not yet applied for disaster assistance to get their applications filed by Monday or risk ineligibility for federal reimbursement of some storm costs.

"We have seen a wave of new applications in the last few days and we want to reiterate that the deadline is approaching and local entities should not wait any longer," said Brig. Gen. Francis Laden, state disaster coordinating officer. "If they don't apply by that deadline, we can't help them."

Application can be made by calling Joe Martin, Nebraska public assistance officer at 402-437-3906 or by faxing a letter of intent to 402-437-3929. The letter of intent should contain the name and address of entity, a contact person and phone number, and some description of the type of damage incurred.

Entities eligible to apply for possible federal reimbursement must be located in one of the 39 counties designated for disaster assistance and have damages associated with the snowstorm, rain and high winds that swept through the state from October 24 through 26. Also, damages must be related to debris removal and/or emergency protective measures to be considered for reimbursement.

In 14 of the 39 counties, public utilities also are eligible for possible reimbursement of certain damages to their facilities in addition to debris removal and/or emergency protective measures, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Types of eligible entities are: State agencies; local governments; other political subdivisions such as fire districts or sanitary improvement districts; public utilities, Indian tribes, rural unincorporated communities and certain non-profit organizations such as medical facilities, educational institutions, museums, community centers, libraries and other facilities that provide health and safety services of a governmental nature.

Curt Musgrave, FEMA federal coordinating officer, said that so far, 209 entities have filed Notices of Interest, which informs state and federal recovery officials of disaster-related damage. Federal guidelines require that a Notice of Interest be filed within 30 days following a Presidential disaster declaration.

The number of applications jumped significantly during the weekend after several sanitary improvement districts discovered their costs were not covered by their respective counties, Musgrave said.

"If an entity isn't sure whether to apply and they want federal assistance, they need to go ahead and contact Joe Martin for a determination on eligibility," Musgrave said. "Above all, they should not miss that deadline."

Counties eligible for federal assistance with debris removal and emergency protective measures costs are: Adams, Banner, Buffalo, Butler, Cass, Cheyenne, Clay, Custer, Dawson, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Gosper, Hall, Hamilton, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Kearney, Kimball, Lancaster, Lincoln, Nuckolls, Otoe, Phelps, Polk, Red Willow, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders, Scotts Bluff, Seward, Thayer, Washington, Webster, and York.

The 14 counties where public utilities are eligible for help with repairing or replacing damaged facilities are: Cass, Clay, Douglas, Fillmore, Kimball, Lancaster, Nuckolls, Otoe, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward, Thayer and Washington.

Updated: December 8, 1997