The Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA) denied relief funds requested by Texas to help in the rebuilding of the town of West.
The town was badly damaged, in some cases completely destroyed during a fertilizer plant explosion back in April.
The explosion in April killed 15, injured hundreds, and destroyed several buildings, including two schools, and multiple homes.
Site Impact stated:
“FEMA has provided aid to individual residents and households, but a major disaster declaration would provide money needed to rebuild parts of the city.
“The agency will also not provide unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, legal services and other aid.”
West Mayor Thommy Muska told Kate McGee of KUT News:
“I consider it a disaster, and the I think the citizens of West deserve to know what criteria the government uses to declare a disaster,”
He continued on to say that he was very surprised and disappointed that FEMA denied their request.
Texas Governor, Rick Perry, had first contacted FEMA in the middle of May, and was told the following:
“It has been determined that the remaining cost for permanent work is within the capabilities of the state and affected local governments.”
Site Impact had a copy of the full letter from FEMA and it stated:
“We reaffirm our original findings that the impact from this event is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration for the additional Individual Assistance program.”
KUT Newsreported last month that the actual cause of the fire that originally led to the explosion is still being investigated.
Investigators do believe that the fire could have been started with a fire in the plant’s electrical system, a golf cart battery, or could have been intentionally set.
Federal and state investigators have clashed over the investigation, now entering its third month.
Many are already disappointed with FEMA’s decision to deny West Texas with relief funds, and the question really does become “what criteria the government uses to declare a disaster”?
[Image via Salon]