Federal assistance to AL may take time to arrive after severe weather

Federal assistance to AL may take time to arrive after severe weather

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Federal assistance from FEMA may take "a couple of weeks", according to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, as a procedure must be followed to secure the funds.

The first part of the procedure is damage assessment, something that is being delayed as high flood waters have left some areas inaccessible. Throughout the state, though, crews have tried to assess the damage from the recent band of severe weather to make it's way through Alabama.

According to EMA Director Art Faulkner, the assessment stage should be done around the end of this week.  If the damage is determined to exceed $7 million, then the state can request federal assistance. With multiple bridges, roads, and homes destroyed, reaching that threshold seems likely.

FEMA cannot come into the state until the state requests aid, which it may do by the end of this week. According to the governor, FEMA would do a quick assessment of its own before providing assistance.

According to Gov. Bentley, if Alabama receives federal assistance it would do so with a 75 to 25 percent match. That means for each dollar the state would put up, the federal government would put up three.

Bentley said the matching can vary, adding that the federal government picked up 95 percent of the tab after the 2011 Tuscaloosa tornadoes.

Bentley said the local level usually splits the state's part of the recovery money.

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