FEMA denies Dayton's appeal for individual flood assistanceIn its letter to Dayton, FEMA said after a thorough review it found the damage to dwellings from the June 19-20 event was severe enough to warrant individual assistance.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied an appeal by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton for aid for individuals and businesses affected by the June flooding.
The June 19-20 flood did more than $100 million damage in Minnesota, mostly in St. Louis and Carlton counties. FEMA approved assistance for repairs of publicly owned buildings, roads and structures, but did not find evidence of enough damage to private homes and businesses to justify additional aid. Dayton appealed that decision last week, citing reported damage to more than 1,700 homes.
The governor’s office learned Friday that Dayton’s appeal was denied.
“I am very disappointed that FEMA has rejected my appeal of their decision to deny the Individual Assistance for Minnesotans whose homes, businesses and lives were devastated by the terrible flooding,” Dayton said in a statement. “I will ask the Legislature to include that assistance, estimated at $7.4 million, in the upcoming special session.”
In its letter to Dayton, FEMA said after a “thorough review of all the information contained in the initial request and your appeal, we reaffirm our original findings that the damage to dwellings from this event is not of the severity and magnitude to warrant the implementation of the Individual Assistance Program.”
When individual assistance was first denied last month, FEMA spokesman Richard Gifford in Duluth said the major reason was that FEMA determined state and local governments could handle citizens’ recovery needs.
Duluth mayor Don Ness expressed disappointment with FEMA’s policy.
“We understand that in order to qualify, you need a larger number of homes that were completely destroyed,” Ness said. “While I understand the need to ensure that it was a large disaster, it doesn’t make sense to me to withhold the help from people that desperately need the help just because there aren’t more people in the same situation. Clearly this was a major disaster and clearly there were people that were dramatically impacted.”