Reporting Alex DeMetrick
CRISFIELD, Md. (WJZ) — Asking for disaster relief after Hurricane Sandy slammed into Crisfield brought sympathy from FEMA but no money.
Alex DeMetrick reports the agency and the White House denied the request because not enough damage was done.
When Sandy flooded Crisfield, saving lives came first and taking stock of the damage came next. Sitting just above the bay, many in town took a hit.
“My building took a big beating,” said Mark Milbourne.
“Crisfield took it the hardest in terms of sea level rise, the tidal surge and a lot of people have been swamped out of their homes,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.
After seeing the damage, the governor asked for federal disaster relief. Money for repairing infrastructure was approved, but now federal help won’t be coming to homeowners and businesses because not enough damage was done.
FEMA director Craig Fugate ruled, “At this point, the information doesn’t support a major presidential disaster declaration because it is not based upon the trauma to the individual. You know, our hearts go out to them.”
“We need help. We need help. We cannot do it,” said one Crisfield resident.
The reason: many who lost furnaces, first floors and roofs don’t have the money to make repairs.
“It comes hard when you know you’re going to have to pay that much money and you don’t have it,” said Laura Summers.
“We are a small town in a rural area and you got to look at the level of damage we had, the level of income in this area–which is extremely low–and take all that into consideration,” said Crisfield Mayor P.J. Purnell.
Maryland’s members of Congress say they will re-state that dilemma to FEMA, just as they did when floodwaters were still in the streets over a month ago.