While declaring 12 counties disaster areas after recent rains ravaged parts of the Mohawk Valley and upstate New York, the federal government has denied individual disaster aid for people who lost property in the floods.
Cong. Richard Hanna is disappointed the federal government denied aid for individuals. In a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency signed by the entire New York Congressional delegation, he points to past disasters that didn't have the benchmark 100 homes destroyed. He says the devastation in the past month in central New York certainly deserves consideration.
"In Oneida they lost about 200 homes, they got flooded," Hanna said. "There are 40 or 50 at least that are completely 100 percent gone, and Herkimer was devastated they lost homes. So there's a lot of people affected. And I think one of the things in their equation is not just the total number of houses; it's the poverty level of the people affected."
Hanna notes that many flooded out families live in communities with a relatively high poverty level and low levels of flood insurance coverage. It's ultimately up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to appeal FEMA's decision. He has 30 days to do that. Cuomo has also said the state could step in and provide help to homeowners if the feds don't.