Wis. Gov. Doyle Disappointed with FEMA Denial for Aid

September 26, 2005

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said recently that he was disappointed by the Bush Administration’s decision to deny disaster assistance that would have reportedly helped families in Dane, Richland, and Vernon Counties recover from a record number of tornadoes that hit the state Aug. 18, 2005. The Governor said he would appeal the decision.

“I’m dismayed by this decision, having seen firsthand the damage these tornadoes caused,” Gov. Doyle said. “While I understand that FEMA’s resources are strained, the country shouldn’t be in the position of having to choose between victims of one disaster and victims of another. Instead, Congress and the President should set priorities and find the resources so that states that qualify – as Wisconsin clearly does – are not denied assistance to help citizens get back on their feet.”

Gov. Doyle requested federal disaster assistance for Dane, Richland, and Vernon Counties after 27 tornadoes struck southern Wisconsin, killing one person and injuring 23. An F3 tornado touched down in Dane County causing a 17 mile long and ½ mile wide path of destruction. More than 400 homes were damaged and 67 were destroyed.

“We will appeal this decision and do everything we can to help the people whose lives were disrupted by these devastating tornadoes,” Gov. Doyle said.

On Aug. 25, Gov. Doyle asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare Dane, Richland, and Vernon Counties disaster areas, which would have allowed the federal government to provide disaster aid to individuals, businesses, and local governments impacted by the tornadoes.

Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation has been in daily contact with FEMA headquarters, inquiring about the status of the federal disaster declaration. While the status of a declaration usually takes a few weeks, the events of Hurricane Katrina may have caused the extensive delay in responding to Wisconsin’s request.

The state may still request low interest loans from the Small Business Administration for homeowners affected by the tornadoes.

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