Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Florida's federal aid may be available this week

Rob Johnson in the Pensacola News Journal: Residents of the Florida Panhandle are used to hurricane warnings and flood alerts, but on Monday many were on a watch for federal emergency funding as they waited for Washington to release money to help homeowners and businesses with efforts to recover from last week's torrential rains.

Federal aid to Florida because of last week's flooding isn't a sure thing, but the director of the state's Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee says he's "hopeful" that President Barack Obama soon will give the OK. "We have two press releases written: one that says yes and one that says no," said Bryan Koon, director of the agency.

Some flood victims in Santa Rosa County went online to FEMA's website on Monday to fill out the agency's application for money that could come in the form of grants or low-interest loans. But they were frustrated to discover that after nearly completing a lengthy form the website told them that Florida isn't yet eligible for help.

The delay came despite written appeals to Obama from U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who even gave a speech on the Senate floor in Washington.

Nelson, a Florida Democrat, said in his letter, "Storms brought torrential rain and severe weather to northern Florida in recent days, which included more than 20 inches of rain in some parts of the Panhandle last week alone. Flooding has destroyed people's homes, roads, and other critical infrastructure that people rely on daily. These storms forged a path of destruction across the Southeast United States, and many people lost their lives as a result, including one Floridian."...

An ambulance on flooded road in Florida in 2008, image by FEMA 

No comments: