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Feds say California's fires aren't a disaster
Not so fast. There is a difference between an "emergency," which frees up something like the $50 million in firefighting funds, and a "federal disaster" declaration, which frees up the full range of FEMA assistance to fire victims, including relocation shelters and financial assistance.
According to the Monterey Herald the federal government has refused to declare the California fires a disaster:
“But assistance from FEMA for fire victims has not been approved because the fires have not been declared a federal disaster.
“Paulison said a preliminary damage evaluation will be done to determine if more declarations are needed.
“Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, said he was told it does not appear California's wildfires qualify as a federal disaster because the level of destruction has not been great enough.”
It's conservative government in action - the stingy nature of FEMA assistance that was revealed to the world during Hurricane Katrina continues to dominate the Bush Administration's approach to disaster relief. As a Daily Kos diarist has explained FEMA is screwing around with Midwest flood disaster relief and of course, FEMA's initial reaction to last fall's fires here in California was to host a news conference where its employees posed as actual reporters and lobbed softball questions at FEMA administrators.
Read the full article By Robert Cruickshank
California Progress Report
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