• Wolf: FEMA denies disaster declaration for spring flooding, landslides

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    The federal government denied a request for a major disaster declaration after flooding and landslides this spring caused $22 million in damage in western Pennsylvania.

    Gov. Tom Wolf announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision on Wednesday.

    RELATED STORY: Landslides continue to plague Western Pennsylvania

    “FEMA chose to look at this continuous string of severe weather as separate incidents, none of which it reported met the threshold for a declaration, but the agency ignored the fact that these weather events were relentless, with damage and costs escalating with each subsequent storm, the total of which devastated much of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties,” he said in a statement.

    The decision means FEMA won't be helping to pay for the cleanup. Channel 11 contacted FEMA for a comment and we are still waiting for a response.


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    Wolf made the request in late June. On Wednesday, he said he will appeal FEMA’s decision.

    “Federal assistance exists to help after state and local resources are overextended and that was most definitely the case for this continuous stretch of unprecedented weather events in western Pennsylvania in late winter and early spring,” he said.

    RELATED STORY: City monitoring 18 neighborhoods for possible landslides

    A federal major disaster declaration allows federal funds to be used as part of the rebuilding process and can reimburse nonprofits that aided citizens in the immediate aftermath of the destructive events.

    A landslide on Gershon Street is one of dozens that have plagued western Pennsylvania costing the city and county more than it can afford. Since February, Allegheny County alone is facing more than $12 million in costs and damage from landslides and flooding.


     

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