Officials discuss FEMA's lack of assistance

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LAMAR COUNTY, TX -- For two months North Texas has been waiting to hear from FEMA on whether the region will receive federal aid for damages from December's ice storm.

Wednesday, North Texas learned it would receive no federal aid for damages caused by December's ice storm. State officials and emergency management officials across Texas received a letter from FEMA stating:

"It has been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments."

"I think that the main thing that I keep telling the public is that we have suffered a disaster and even if we had FEMA relief, it was not going to make us whole," said Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville. "This is even further of a setback, because it looks like we may be on our own at this point."

The state is appealing FEMA's ruling. Judge Superville says he is "cautiously optimistic" that FEMA will overturn their initial decision.

"We cannot clean up all this debris overnight," said Judge Superville. "All we can do is kind of work at it the best we can and I just ask the public to be patient with us as we go forward."

Officials have estimated $30-million in damages for December's storm $18-million of which is in Lamar County.

If the states second request for federal aid gets denied, than the 12 counties affected by December's ice storm will have to clean up debris on their own dime. Counties would be able to receive some assistance from the state, but it would be limited to $350,000 per county.

Surrounding states affected by the same storm have already received FEMA assistance.

"Oklahoma, Arkansas and maybe the corner of Louisiana where we attach to it, but from the information that we are receiving that they have been approved for federal declarations for their damages," said Lamar County Emergency Management Coordinator Heath Thomas.

Superville says it's their problem for now and it's not going away.

"If we don't get aid from FEMA I think that we will be dealing this for months and months and maybe years and years," Judge Superville.

Texas has 30-days to file its appeal.

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