Governor Ron DeSantis has announced plans to appeal FEMA’s decision to deny funding to victims of last month’s tornadoes that swept Southwest Florida.
DeSantis made the announcement from Iona, one of the locations affected by the tornado. He is supported by Lee County commissioners and law enforcement, among others. He spoke from the 21st Century Mobile Home Community, one of the communities affected by one of the six tornadoes that struck on January 16.
On Tuesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied a request from Florida for individual assistance to people in Lee and Charlotte counties.
In its letter in response to the request for funding, FEMA said the event was not of such magnitude and magnitude as “beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies.”
FEMA employees consider several factors when deciding whether something is a disaster.
They take into account the state’s finances and available resources beyond the death toll and whether anyone has lost their jobs.
“In our view and the state of Florida, we need to continue our commitment to helping the people of Lee and Charlotte counties,” DeSantis said. “I have directed our Department of Emergency Management to immediately appeal this decision.”
DeSantis spoke from a podium with a sign saying “relief now,” but made it clear that it was not his responsibility.
DeSantis said 158 homes have been destroyed or sustained damage.
DeSantis said, referring to the 55+ community.
“People are still trying to find stable housing,” he said. “It’s not easy to just pick up and move into a new home, especially in the state of Florida.”
When WINK News asked DeSantis why he hadn’t committed to funding the restoration, he replied: “It’s all of the above, and it’s something the states have relied on for years and years and years. . and so I think that’s the best way to be able to help these people. “
DeSantis said he would consider avenues the state could take to help those affected, but did not specify what those avenues would be.
He moved on to other questions without answering the question.
About 84 percent of those affected are living on a fixed income, said Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.
“This is the most vulnerable neighborhood in Lee County and Charlotte County,” Guthrie said. “We will continue to support anyone here.”
DeSantis blamed politics.
“These things should go above politics when people have needs like this,” DeSantis said. “Anything they can do to pick their noses in Florida, they seem to do it.”
DeSantis said he thought it was a mistake to “use politics with this.”
“I think you have to help people when they need it,” he said.
Edward Murray, whose home has been dumped in the trash, said he needs help from anyone.
“If they think this isn’t a tragedy, I don’t know what is,” Murray said. “I am 81 years old. Does FEMA want me back to work? Is that what they want? Is that what you are asking for? They are saying that I don’t need any help. “
When the governor’s visit was announced, it gave 21st Century residents hope.
But the grim reality is that now that DeSantis is gone, nothing has changed.
The anxiety is still there.
“It’s like we have to start all over in a rental or whatever and then we don’t know what we’re going to do next month,” says Yesenia Murray.
Ellie Costalas is worried about her neighbors.
“A lot of them are living on social security. They have no home anywhere else. They had no children to take care of and their homes were destroyed. And they don’t have the money,” Costalas said.
Guthrie said with or without FEMA help, Florida will help people, but he did not say how.
Costalas kept the sign used at the podium and posted it to her house.
“It sends a message and it is a reminder of what is happening, what has happened and what is happening now,” she said.
Anthony Costalas said both are in and will rebuild.
It is clear from the crowd size and applause that many 21st Century tornado victims are pleased and excited by the governor’s push to appeal.
But Marvin Steele? Not much.
Steele said he’ll keep his fingers crossed, but he’s not holding his breath for federal, state or anyone else to step in.
“It’s just the same old story that’s happened in the last six or eight weeks,” Steele said. “Same old story, so that’s where we’re at.”
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https://www.winknews.com/2022/02/18/gov-desantis-to-speak-alongside-lcso-at-site-of-iona-tornado-damage/ Governor DeSantis Blames Feds For Lack Of Support In Lee, Charlotte’s Tornado Recovery