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Those in flood path question if Presidential Disaster Declaration will help Flagstaff area

Flagstaff flooding
Posted at 9:58 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 00:58:11-04

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — The first Presidential Disaster Declaration not related to COVID-19 in seven years was issued in Arizona this week, but for some people who live in Coconino County there are questions on if there will be aid to help the flash flooding in their neighborhoods.

ABC15 has covered flash flooding in Flagstaff down the Museum Fire burn scar that has led to a path of repetitive flash flooding events.

However, the Disaster Declaration does not include the dates for the severe flash floods in the third week of July because of the damage amount threshold.

The declaration approved by President Joe Biden is for events from July 22 to July 24 for Coconino, Apache, and Navajo Counties.

In a press release on Tuesday, county officials wrote that the declaration for those days do not include the Museum Flood area as there was no flooding those days, “Furthermore, the Presidential Disaster Declaration is based on impacts to public infrastructure across the three counties and does not result in the ability for individuals impacted by flooding to secure FEMA Individual Assistance nor SBA low-interest disaster loans,” a statement read.

The county went to say that there may be an indirect impact from the declaration, “It will have an indirect impact on Coconino County and the City of Flagstaff with a potential for some funding to address flood impacts only to public infrastructure that occurred within this timeframe.”

Neighbors in the flood are now wondering if the declaration will help the public infrastructure in their neighborhoods to mitigate the flash floods.

Since the flood events down the burn scars are different events, it's unclear what’s next for those who live nearby.

An official with FEMA said there is still funding that the county can apply for that is not tied to dates.

“The disaster declaration activated the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). All counties within the state where the disaster was declared can apply for a HMGP grant. The funds are delivered to the state by FEMA and the grant applications are reviewed and approved by the state.

Examples of successful flood mitigation grants include:

1. Increasing the capacity of culverts or rerouting storm water drains,

2. Reinforcing levee systems,

3. Building berms around susceptible water treatment facilities (flood protection),

4. Providing funds to elevate at risk (repetitive loss/severe repetitive loss) homes, and

5. Funding public safety programs (outreach).”