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FEMA denies Individual Assistance to NYS flood victims

FORT PLAIN -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied individual benefits to Fort Plain residents Monday following a flood last month's flood.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement in a prepared statement, adding he will work to provide state aid to the area.

"An effective government is one that serves the people and when disaster strikes is there to help.  In this situation, people need help, and you haven't seen anything until you see New Yorkers come together. The state will step up to the plate to ensure that those affected by these floods have the resources and assistance they need to get their lives back together," Cuomo said.

On Friday, Governor Cuomo announced that Public Assistance had been granted to New York State.

The decision hit residents still cleaning up hard because their insurance is not going to cover damage from flooding and most did not have flood insurance.

"We were really hoping for FEMA. Now that I know I'm not getting it I'm at a loss. I really am. There's thousands of dollars in damage and I don't have the funding for it," said Renee Shoemaker, whose home had to be gutted after the storm. "I just about burst into tears because I don't know how I'm going to do this, I really dont."

Shoemaker is living in a camper on a friend's driveway in St. Johnsville. Volunteers from non-profits and neighbors have helped her remove most of the mud and gutted the basement and first floor. They also worked to gut her mother's adjoining home.

Following FEMA's decision, Congressman Paul Tonko said the agency should review its procedure for determining funding to consider the damage caused by severe storms that strongly impact pockets of a county.

"With the changing patterns of weather that are out there, and they are pronounced and discernible, let's move forward and incorporate that into the process," said Tonko.

Fort Plain officials have been concerned residents would not return after many homes were damaged. Some residents have already seen their neighbors leave for good.

"The lady out back, she had tenants they took off. The people up the street on Read  and Abbot Street they're just walking away. What else can you do? You don't have the funding to be able to fix the house so they're walking away," said Shoemaker. "I don't want to. I grew up here. It's my little community. My kids go to the same school I went to, people I graduated with are teaching them. It's a small, tight-knit community. I love it here, but I don't have a house to live in right now. I'm living in a camper."

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