BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The federal government has given a big “no” to Baltimore. A request to FEMA to declare April’s riots a major disaster has been rejected.
Alex DeMetrick has more.
The damage was only few days old when Governor Hogan walked neighborhoods hit by rioting and looting, as business owners asked for help.
“We’ve spent millions of dollars in the past few days already. We’re going to be reaching out to the president to try to get some federal funds in here,” Hogan said.
The governor requested FEMA declare the riot a major disaster. But the request has been turned down, FEMA saying federal disaster aid is not appropriate for such an event.
“I hope it’s a glitch. I hope it’s something that can be remedied relatively quickly,” said William Pete Welch, City Councilman.
Councilman Welch spent the day in the West Baltimore District he represents as the community, business and non-profit groups staged a clean-up.
“We don’t have to wait for anybody else to help us. We can come together,” said Lela Campbell, Step Foward, Inc.
But with the city spending $20-million from its Rainy Day fund, and the state doing the same, federal help would be very welcome.
“With the extra money you need to cover police and fire and to support services to calm the situation. I anticipate that would be covered, as well as the damages done to uninsured businesses in our area,” Welch said.
Over 380 businesses were damaged, looted or both. Low interest FEMA loans could help many. In a statement today, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin says, “If there is an appeal made to FEMA, I will be supportive.”
And in a letter to Hogan, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wrote, “I urge you to file such an appeal on behalf of the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland.”
A spokesperson for the governor says FEMA’s rejection is being reviewed and appropriate stpes will be takes, including a possible appeal.
If an appeal is successful, the city and state could see up to 75-percent of the money taken from Rainy Day funds reimbursed.