US Administration approves disaster funding for West, Texas
06 August 2013
In an about-face, the Obama administration declared West, Texas, a major disaster area in the aftermath of the deadly fertiliser plant explosion that killed 15 and devastated a large part of the town in April. The declaration, announced on August 2, means local government will be eligible to receive federal funding for the town.
The fertiliser plant explosion destroyed significant parts of the town of West - Photo: CSB
The Federal Emergency Management Agency in June denied additional money to the town. In a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry explaining the decision, FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said the damage from the massive explosion was “not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration.”
The town had asked for a total of about $57 million to help repair the damage, including $40 million to help rebuild a school destroyed in the explosion. In June, the Insurance Council of Texas estimated that total insured losses from the blast could top $100 million.
“The approval of the state’s appeal for a major disaster declaration is great and welcome news for the people of West,” Perry said in the statement. “This, along with the disaster relief funding provided by the Texas legislature, will help this community rebuild their infrastructure, school district and public works as quickly as possible.”
The White House release said that the federal funding would be “available to state and eligible local governments and certain private non-profit organisations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the explosion in McLennan County.”