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Congressmen Not Happy With FEMA's Excuses on Nappanee

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Congressmen Not Happy With FEMA's Excuses on Nappanee

Congressmen Joe Donnelly and Mark Souder recently asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency why three Indiana counties were denied aid after an Oct. 18 tornado that struck Nappanee and the surrounding area.

They are not happy with FEMA's answer.

Donnelly, D-Granger, and Souder, R-Fort Wayne, specifically asked FEMA for Preliminary Damage Assessment reports related to the tornado and staff recommendations about whether individual assistance was warranted.

They also wanted an explanation of how the information was used to determine individual aid wasn't appropriate.

FEMA replied with a one-and-a-half page statement of information. It said PDAs are used, with additional factors, to determine if federal assistance is needed.

The statement said an appeal by Gov. Mitch Daniels was denied after it was determined the amount of damage sustained "was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the combined capabilities of the state, affected local governments and voluntary agencies."

The report listed 389 affected residences, including 51 destroyed and 137 with major damage. The report cited 51 percent of residences were insured. The estimate for individual assistance was $1,728,858.

Donnelly and Souder weren't satisfied by FEMA's response, which Donnelly said did not provide an adequate explanation.

"FEMA's response is far from satisfactory," Donnelly said in a press release. "The people of Nappanee and other communities want to know why FEMA made the decision it did, and the information provided to Congressman Souder and I actually raises more questions than it answers."

Donnelly said he and Souder will continue to seek answers. He also posed the possibility of new legislation that would change how FEMA operates.

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