FEMA still considering individual disaster applications

    Gov. Jim Doyle will appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide federal assistance for individuals, families and businesses suffering from severe weather in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Grant counties.
    “Gov. Doyle is going to appeal that part of the request. He has 30 days to file an appeal with FEMA,” said Lori Getter of Wisconsin Emergency Management.
    The state was originally informed Wednesday by FEMA that it did not meet the federal threshold to receive individual assistance.  In subsequent conversations with FEMA officials, the state was informed that there has been no determination regarding individual assistance. The state will continue to pursue an individual assistance declaration.
    Getter said one factor in FEMA’s initial reluctance to grant the request may have been that most of the homes and businesses that were damaged in Wisconsin were flooded in the basements, rather than the first floors of their buildings.
    “FEMA, for homes, they’re looking at how many people are displaced, how many homes are destroyed. To FEMA, major damage is flooding above the first floor. That’s probably one contributing factor, but they look at several things,” Getter said.
    FEMA did approve Doyle’s request for public assistance for local governments in Grant and Milwaukee counties to help recover some of their flood-related costs, such as infrastructure damages, debris removal and emergency overtime costs.
    Individual communities will be entitled to seek reimbursements for those public costs, Getter said. That request did not include Waukesha County because not enough communities in that county sustained significant costs in the storm, Getter said.
    A series of storms producing torrential rain, hail and strong winds moved through southern Wisconsin on July 22. Flooding was widespread in the Milwaukee area. The next night, several areas of Grant County were hit by flash flooding.
    “I want to thank the Federal Emergency Management Agency for helping Wisconsin communities recover from these damaging floods,” Doyle said.  “While I am disappointed that the state did not meet the threshold for individual assistance, we will continue to work with affected communities to rebuild from July’s severe storms and flooding.”
    The state will not receive emergency FoodShare assistance from the USDA as part of the Emergency Declaration. The Department of Health Services in July provided replacement FoodShare benefits to enrolled families with flood damage. No further FoodShare assistance is available for families affected by flooding. 
    – BizTimes Milwaukee

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