South Florida Members of Congress Urge FEMA to Extend Individual Assistance to Additional FL Counties
As South Florida begins to rebuild following the destructive Hurricane Irma, Reps. Ted Deutch (FL-22), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Lois Frankel (FL-21), and Brian Mast (FL-18), Members of Congress representing South Florida, expressed concern that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) excluded Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County from the list of counties eligible for Individual Assistance.
President Trump’s September 10 Major Disaster Declaration included all 67 Florida counties on the list of eligible counties for Public Assistance. For federal assistance to individuals and households, only nine counties were included on the list of eligible counties. FEMA determines which counties are eligible for Individual Assistance based on hurricane forecasts. However, while Palm Beach, Broward, Martin, and St. Lucie counties were forecasted to experience severe wind and water damage from the hurricane, they were not included on the list of counties eligible to receive Individual Assistance.
Though the eye of the hurricane did not pass through these counties, the residents experienced hurricane-force gusts of wind, tornadoes, and severe storm surge and flooding. Debris fills the roads, trees are down on homes and blocking passage on roads, and hundreds of thousands remain without power today.
The Members of Congress issued this statement:
“When a hurricane stretches over 400 miles across the state, there is going to be devastation whether the eye crosses the county or not. Residents of Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie counties, as well as residents of other counties not included on the list, have experienced severe wind and water damage to their homes and property. FEMA must add these counties to the Individual Assistance list to ensure that families can start addressing their needs today. In the days and weeks ahead, Floridians will need all of the support we can get to help rebuild.”