‘False hope, red tape and disappointment’: FEMA officials meet with flood victims discussing eligibility and appeals

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 8:35 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - FEMA representatives and county officials met at Dorton Elementary Monday night to help work through possible frustrations flood victims may have.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 5:30

The bleachers were full of flood victims saying FEMA is only providing false hope, red tape and disappointment.

One woman said she received money, but it was nowhere near enough.

“$1,503 doesn’t even cover the mold on my home,” said one flood victim.

Leandra Johnson lives in Dorton. Her home was spared, but she says her bridge was washed away.

“We’re very fortunate for that, but we have no access to our home,” said Johnson.

She says she applied for FEMA assistance online, and then went in person to a disaster relief center.

“They reviewed our application and they said everything looked great,” said Johnson.

When an inspector came out to her home, she says they were gone within 20 minutes.

“We even had the estimate ready when she came, and we asked her if she’d like to see the contractors estimate she said, ‘No I don’t need to’,” said Johnson.

She says she heard back from FEMA Monday, approving her for rental assistance which she said she did not even apply for. She says her bridge was never mentioned.

Others at the meeting said they got less than $200 to replace their bridge.

“I got $132,” said one flood victim. “We’re tired, we’ve all played with flood mud and we keep on getting penalized because we got flooded.”

FEMA representatives say sometimes that initial money is for a service call to hire a contractor to find out how much it will cost to repair, but that is not mentioned in the eligibility letter.

“Unfortunately, when you get those eligibility letters it doesn’t specify whether it’s for a service call or not. You have to contact us so we can let you know,” said Andrea Defreitas with FEMA.

She says victims need to appeal and include an itemized estimate on how much it will cost to repair.

Victims left the meeting with an appeal of their own, asking FEMA to simply the process and offer more clarification.

Below is the location to the FEMA disaster center in Pike County:

Dorton Community Center – 112 Dorton Hill Rd., Jenkins KY 41722

Pike County officials are urging flood victims to go in person and talk through their claims and appeals.

Copyright 2022 WYMT. All rights reserved.