FEMA officials to assess flood damage this week

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are conducting joint preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) with Wisconsin Emergency Management and other state and local officials in Milwaukee and Grant counties this week, as a first step in the federal disaster declaration process.

The PDAs are being conducted at the request of Governor Jim Doyle. The teams will review flood damages to determine the impacts of the disaster and identify types and extent of disaster assistance required. The teams will look at two types of assistance:

Individual Assistance (homeowners, renters and business owners).

The team is looking at a variety of factors:

  • Extent of damage
  • Threat to public safety
  • Threat to people’s health
  • Number of people who have been displaced
  • How many primary homes are habitable
  • Extent of insurance coverage
  • How many homes have been destroyed
  • How many homes have major damage
  • Damage and economic loss to businesses

Public Assistance (infrastructure damages)

  • Impact to critical facilities such as utilities, schools and hospitals
  • Impact to roads and other public facilities
  • Cost of emergency workers’ overtime
  • Effects of necessary debris removal

The PDA will probably take 2-3 days. The information collected will be used by the Governor to determine if the extent of damage is beyond the capability of the local and state government to recover from the disaster. The Governor will then use this information to support the request for a presidential declaration and to certify that the damage is beyond state and local capabilities.

People should not expect FEMA to come in and write them out checks right away. What individuals have to realize is that FEMA is a organization that behaves as an insurance company that covers incredibly excessive loss over and above what’s normally taken care of. Meanwhile, the city is urging residents to be mindful of neighboring houses that are abandoned and check in on seniors and citizens with disabilities. Call your local alderman’s office to report any concerns in this area.