Victim assistance denial in western U.P. was wrong

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency got it absolutely wrong last week when they opted to deny individual claims for assistance from the people whose lives, homes and businesses were turned upside down — literally, in many cases — in what’s known locally as the Father’s Day flash flood.

In a tersely worded letter to Gov. Rick Snyder, which was as devoid of emotion as it was good news for the people of the western Upper Peninsula and Copper Country, FEMA said, “Based on our review of all the information available, including the result of the joint Individual Assistance Damage Assessment, it has been determined that the impact to the individuals and households from this event was not of such severity and magnitude to warrant the designation of Individual Assistance under FEMA-4381-DR.”

Although it’s unclear how much money individual homeowners could be eligible for, anything would help as no one, to our knowledge, had flood insurance in the impacted areas.

Even moderate basement cleanups can cost into the thousands of dollars, never mind major rebuilds.

Take it from us, there are plenty of both in Houghton, Gogebic and Menominee counties.

Snyder, who requested the disaster declaration, has 30 days to appeal this latest decision and we sincerely hope he does.

We believe a good case can be made for FEMA to revisit and correct this decision.

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