2018-07-11 / Front Page

Willacy may get public disaster aid, but no FEMA money for private homes

BY ALLEN ESSEX
Reporter

Earlier this week, President Trump approved disaster area status for Cameron and Hidalgo Counties, but not for Willacy County.

But there’s more to the story according to Willacy County Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Torres.

County officials are working on a disaster area application for public assistance funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair or replace public property such as buildings, drainage systems and equipment damaged by the recent flooding, Torres said.

Willacy County did not receive disaster status that would have provided FEMA funding for repairs to private homes and property, Torres said.

“There were only six homes in Port Mansfield that had any damage,” he said. The total damage from the June 19-20 flood in cities and rural areas was not enough for Willacy threshold to qualify for “individual assistance.”

Willacy County will get reimbursed for four new mosquito foggers purchased last week and for heavy mosquito spraying needed because of the flooding, County Judge Aurelio “Keter” Guerra said. Each new sprayer cost about $8,200. They are designed for quick installation in the back of a pickup truck and can be operated by remote control so the driver can control the fogger from the truck cab.

Businesses that received flood damage can apply for Small Business Administration loans to repair damage, Torres said.

Even if the county was declared a disaster area, anyone who received FEMA assistance in past disasters would not get any funding now for property damage if they did not buy federal flood assistance, Torres said.

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