Cornyn, Texas Colleagues Support Appeal for Federal Disaster Declaration Following North Texas Tornadoes


In: All News   Posted 05/01/2020
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WASHINGTON—Following the 10 tornadoes and other severe weather that hit North Texas last fall, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) along with U.S. Representatives Colin Allred (TX-32), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Roger Williams (TX-25), Van Taylor (TX-03), Mike Conaway (TX-11), and Filemon Vela (TX-34) sent a letter yesterday to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Pete T. Gaynor in support of Governor Abbott’s final appeal of FEMA’s decision to deny Texas’ request for federal assistance.

They wrote: “On March 31, 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied Texas’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration resulting from the severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes impacting Dallas and Erath counties on October 20-21, 2019.”

“Texas continues to recover from over 14 major disasters in addition to the ongoing response to COVID-19. Recovery resources are stretched to a breaking point, and federal assistance is desperately needed for this event.”

“We urge you to quickly review and approve the appeal submitted by Governor Greg Abbott, declaring a Major Disaster Declaration for both Dallas and Erath counties.”

You can view the signed letter here, and text is below.

April 30, 2020


The Honorable Pete T. Gaynor
Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
500 C Street SW
Washington, DC  20024

Dear Administrator Gaynor:

On March 31, 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied Texas’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration resulting from the severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes impacting Dallas and Erath counties on October 20-21, 2019.

The EF-3 tornado that ripped through the Dallas area caused catastrophic damage. Joint federal, state, and local preliminary damage assessments were completed after the event with FEMA certifying $18,611,222 in damages. However, local jurisdictions identified over $120 million in damages. One of the highlights in the disparity between these two amounts is the costs related to damages suffered by schools in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD).

Three DISD schools received over $66 million in damages. DISD, the City of Dallas, the state, and FEMA worked for months to review paperwork including complex insurance documentation. New data provided on April 23, by DISD, identified an additional $27,080,228 in uninsured damages. This amount when added to the FEMA certified figure of $18,611,222 brings the uninsured damages from this severe weather to $45,691,450, far surpassing the FEMA threshold for Public Assistance in Texas of $38,472,708.

Texas continues to recover from over 14 major disasters in addition to the ongoing response to COVID-19. Recovery resources are stretched to a breaking point, and federal assistance is desperately needed for this event. We urge you to quickly review and approve the appeal submitted by Governor Greg Abbott, declaring a Major Disaster Declaration for both Dallas and Erath counties.

Sincerely,

/s/