President Obama declares state of emergency in PA

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 6, 2014 1:41 PM

Photo by Cary Fry/witf

(Philadelphia) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says a state of emergency has been declared for Pennsylvania, a move that helps the state tackle restoring power to hundreds of thousands without it. 

Biden made the announcement today in Philadelphia where he was unveiling Amtrak's newest engine and touting the need for more investment in infrastructure. President Obama signed the decree earlier. 

At the peak of the snow and ice storm Wednesday, some 849,000 residents were without power. That has since fallen to 451,000  with utilities and government officials warning that it may take until Friday, or even later this weekend, for everything to be restored. 

Governor Corbett says assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be helped to supply generators for hospitals and nursing homes.

Here's the text of President Obama's announcement:

Today, the President declared an emergency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from a severe winter storm beginning on February 4, 2014, and continuing.

The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. 

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Donald L. Keldsen as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. 

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