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Perry denied disaster funds

Nov. 9, 2010

Associated Press

AUSTIN -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Gov. Rick Perry's appeal for a disaster declaration for 13 counties that suffered damage as the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine moved across the state.

Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger told The Associated Press on Monday that Perry is now requesting that the federal government provide disaster loans to help victims of the storms.

After the early September storms, Perry sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting about $6.8 million in federal aid for 13 counties that had flooding. The Obama administration on Oct. 5 denied Perry's request for a major disaster declaration and aid.

Appealing, Perry said many of the counties that suffered damage were rural communities with limited resources. He also increased the damage estimate to more than $13.2 million.

In a letter dated Friday, FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate denied the appeal.

"After careful and thorough review of all the information contained in your initial request and appeal, we affirm our original findings that the impact from this event is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration," Fugate wrote. "The required response appears to be within the combined capabilities of the state, affected local governments and voluntary agencies."

Eight people died during the storms. Perry said that in all, 388 homes in the three hardest-hit counties -- Bell, Tarrant and Williamson -- had major damage or were destroyed.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Perry said that because much of the state is still recovering from June's Hurricane Alex, which damaged or destroyed 304 homes in 21 counties and caused $42 million in infrastructure damage, the individual assistance and case management needed for Hermine relief "will surpass the capacity of local and state agencies to facilitate recovery."