Gov. Appeals FEMA`s Flood Assistance Denial | VideoBrian Howell | 6/17/2011
FEMA says there wasn`t enough damage to qualify in a preliminary assessment conducted in 26 North Dakota counties. State leaders and residents are puzzled.
Well over a thousand Bismarck-Mandan area residents have evacuated their homes. Some don`t have flood insurance, and were banking on federal assistance from FEMA.
"It`s disappointing. It`s sad. We had, obviously, had hoped for something better than that," said Tony Finneman, who evacuated his Briardale home. "Our thought is since the government, in effect, turned the water in on us, that the government might be there to better support us in the end."
Flooding is a statewide problem in North Dakota this year. Forty-seven counties have reported damage. The governor submitted a disaster declaration for President Obama to approve, which would have provided individual assistance for 26 counties, including Burleigh and Morton.
Dalrymple said, "This was really a surprise and really creates a lot of dismay."
The governor blames FEMA`s denial on bureaucracy.
"It`s hard to understand that they would not see that we would have sufficient damage to residences to meet the threshold," said Dalrymple.
But FEMA says there`s still a chance. The governor has 30 days, from yesterday, to appeal its decision.
A few things are in the state`s favor: The governor`s request was made before the Missouri River began widening out. Damages currently seen in the Bismarck-Mandan area, and Minot, weren`t included in that request.
"I see overland flooding. I see the rivers are flooding. It is a critical situation," said Willie Nunn, FEMA federal coordinating officer.
FEMA says Preliminary Damage Assessment Teams are going back out to reassess the situation and that information can be included in the governor`s appeal.
Finneman said, "We are very hopeful, and I think we need to stay hopeful."
The governor sent a letter out to FEMA today, asking them to reconsider their decision.
In the meantime, residents should call the state flood damage hotline and report any damages incurred because of the flood. That number is: 877-212-0316.