– Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) is calling on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update its per capita impact indicator and thresholds to ensure all citizens and communities impacted by natural disasters are treated fairly.
“When extreme weather events strike, citizens who are impacted should not miss out on much-needed recovery assistance just because of where they live,” Owlett said. “Many communities in the Northern Tier have been devastated by flooding recently, and the lack of help from the federal government only prolongs that devastation.”
Owlett pointed to last fall when Tropical Storm Fred decimated Tioga County, Pa., and Steuben County, NY, causing millions of dollars in damages to properties and livelihoods amidst heavy rainfall and flooding. The current FEMA criteria prohibited Tioga County from qualifying for assistance, while Steuben County was able to receive public assistance program support.
“Severe storms and flooding don’t recognize state or municipal boundaries,” Owlett said. “They threaten lives and livelihoods in communities of all shapes, sizes and locations. The people, businesses and local officials who are impacted deserve equal access to recovery assistance.”
House Resolution 179
affirms the FEMA public assistance program would provide financial support for municipalities following the issuance of a presidential declared disaster and encourages the updating of the per capita amounts on an annual basis in accordance with overall cost adjustments and any population changes. In addition, FEMA thresholds should also consider the severity and magnitude of the natural disaster in addition to the obligations of the local, state and federal agencies.