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FEMA Offers Explanation for Failure to Make Available Tornado Decision Documents

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Last week, Congressmen Joe Donnelly and Mark Souder received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) explaining that it would not provide further information regarding how the agency came to its decision to deny federal disaster relief following the tornado of October 18, 2007 that devastated communities in three northern Indiana counties.

In February, Donnelly and Souder requested that FEMA provide more information to explain the agency's denial of federal relief to victims of the tornado that struck Elkhart, Kosciusko and Marshall counties. They received a one-and-a-half page response from the agency with a tally of basic information that was gathered by state and federal officials during the preliminary damage assessment. The congressmen then asked FEMA to provide in writing an explanation for the agency's unwillingness to disclose more details about the decision.

FEMA's latest response explains that it will not provide more material, as was expected, because they consider it "…deliberative and pre-decisional, as well as an executive communication."

Donnelly and Souder are continuing to explore possible legislative improvements to FEMA's disaster declaration process.

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