Disaster Assistance Overview

Disaster Assistance Mission

The mission of the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s (DHS&EM) Disaster Assistance Section is to coordinate state and federal actions with local jurisdictions to assist affected communities in responding to, recovering from, and mitigating against major disasters or emergencies declared by the Governor of Alaska or the President of the United States. Through the division’s Public Assistance (public infrastructure) and Individual Assistance (private property/shelter) programs and activities, the Disaster Assistance Section works to provide supplemental assistance to affected areas and help them recover from a disaster as quickly as possible.

Disaster Declarations

When an event is beyond the capability of the affected local jurisdiction the Governor may, upon request, make a state disaster declaration. This declaration specifies the affected jurisdictions, the peril that caused damages, and an estimate of the type and amount of assistance requested. It also indicates if one or both of the disaster assistance programs are activated.

When a disaster is beyond the capability of the State, the Governor will forward a formal request for assistance to the President of the United States. Federal assistance becomes available upon the President’s declaration and is usually administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Governor’s request is made through the Regional FEMA office. As part of the request, the Governor must take appropriate action under State law and direct execution of the State’s emergency plan. The Governor shall furnish information on the nature and amount of State and local resources that have been or will be committed to alleviating the results of the disaster, provide an estimate of the amount and severity of damage and the impact on the private and public sector, and provide an estimate of the type and amount of assistance needed. Based on the Governor’s request, the President may declare that a major disaster or emergency exists, thus activating an array of Federal programs to assist in the response and recovery effort.

State and Federal Authorities

The Alaska Statute Title 26: Alaska Disaster Act §26.23.010 - §26.23.220 is the authority for the State to provide emergency assistance to State, Tribal and local governments, and certain types of Private Nonprofit organizations to recover from the damages incurred as a result of a disaster. The Governor may provide state assistance to supplement state agencies’ and political subdivisions’ efforts and capabilities to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster in Alaska.

If recovery from the event exceeds the capability of the state, the Governor may request a Federal Declaration through the FEMA Regional Office. If the President declares a major disaster, in accordance with Public Law 93-288, as amended (the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), a federally funded grant, provided through FEMA, is made to the State, which authorizes sub-grants to eligible applicants. FEMA provides grants on a cost-sharing basis. The FEMA/State Agreement defines the cost share amount.

Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 206-Federal Disaster Assistance for Disasters Declared on or after November 23, 1988 provides rules, policies and procedures issued by FEMA. These regulations are followed by FEMA in the implementation and administration of federal disaster programs. The regulations applicable to the Public Assistance (PA) Program are contained in Subparts G, H, and I. The regulations set forth in Parts 9 (Floodplain Management and Protection of the Wetlands), 10 (Environmental Considerations), 13 (“Common Rule” of Grant Administration), and 14 (Audits) of 44CFR are also applicable to projects funded under the PA Program.

Disaster Assistance Points of Contact:

Sam Walton
Disaster Assistance Program Manager
(907) 428-7039
Mark Passmore
Individual Assistance Branch Chief
(907) 428-7057
Al Cavallo
Public Assistance Branch Chief
(907) 428-7051
Jonathan Zeppa
Public Assistance Branch Chief
(907) 428-7052