Flooding disaster assistance process now shifts to FEMA


By Tom Corrigan - tcorrigan@aimmediamidwest.com



According to Kim Carver, director of the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency, about 50 representatives from communities around Scioto County attended what was dubbed by Cassie Ringsdorf, a spokeperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as an applicant briefing, the first step in gaining reimbursement for money spent responding to and recovering from severe storms, flooding and landslides that slammed the area Feb. 14-25.

“All Scioto County jurisdictions will be eligible for reimbursement for up to 87.5 percent of costs associated with response and recovery to the flooding in February, including flood defense costs in the city of Portsmouth and village of New Boston,” Carver said in comments made when the state was approved for FEMA assistance in mid-April.

In a text message, Carver referred questions on the applicant briefing to FEMA. That briefing was held April 27 at the SOMC Friends Center.

According to information provided by Ringsdorf, the next step in the process is the assignment of a FEMA program delivery manager who will serve as a single point of contact for the customers, that is the various communities, seeking financial assistance. What will follow is what was termed an exploratory call between the delivery manager and representatives of the various applicants. The exploratory phone call is meant to give FEMA an initial sense of the needs and damages of the applicants. Ringsdorf said communities, or applicants, have 30 days from the declaration of an emergency to apply for funds. The declaration of emergency was official April 19. Exploratory calls are supposed to reach applicants within seven days of their application reaching FEMA.

Once initial phone calls have been made, the next big step in the process appears to be what FEMA information calls a recovery scoping meeting, which must take place within 21 days of the exploratory calls. That next round of meetings will include the gallery of any needed documentation, the development of a list of projects and priorities. If needed, site inspections will follow shortly afterwards. Within 60 days of the recovery scoping meeting, FEMA will begin to look at, among other issues, the eligibility of each claim. In FEMA’s bureaucratic lingo, what follows that step is termed “scoping and costing,” which consists of reviewing documentation as well as any information gained from site visits and more eligibility reviews. FEMA did not provide a timeline for the various steps following the initial scoping meeting.

“It’s a pretty intense process,” Ringsdorf said, adding that process should begin in force within the next few weeks. She declined to say when communities might receive a final word on any reimbursements. Ringsdorf also stated no information is available as to what claims have been made by individual communities so far.

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By Tom Corrigan

tcorrigan@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931

Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931