DeSantis Urges Biden to Reverse FEMA Denial for Tornado Victims

February 19, 2022 Updated 6:54 AM ET

February 19, 2022 Updated 6:49 A.M. ET

FORT MYERS (FCV) – Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie met with the disaster survivors of the Southwest Florida tornadoes to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reverse their decision to deny the State’s Individual Assistance request.

The storms affected the Charlotte and Lee County areas in January. A state of emergency was declared after two tornadoes ripped through the counties. A EF-1 tornado went through a neighborhood in the Gasparilla Road area and destroyed 21 properties in Holiday Lakes, Gasparilla Mobile Estates and Gasparilla Marina.

“Floridians shouldn’t be punished for a disaster that was outside their control because of White House politics,” DeSantis said. 

Majority of the victims are in the elderly population, with 84 percent of the impacted receiving Social Security Income. This may result in a risk of decline in this specific population due to the unstable housing.

“In seconds and minutes, their lives were turned upside down. To say it was devastating is an understatement,” said Sherriff Carmine Marceno of the Lee County Sherriff’s Office.

“Talk about the Biden administration and their continuous failures. We have seen them fail on the international level, the national level and now the state and unfortunately the local level. The Governor said it right, it’s about being a human being and doing what is right and thank God for our great Governor that stands for just that.”

The State’s request for Individual Assistance for Floridians impacted by recent tornadoes in Charlotte and Lee counties was denied. FDEM is in the appeal process to find any additional justification for the need of Individual Assistance. 

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