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FEMA Tours Areas Hit Hardest by VT Ice Storm: Could Qualify for Federal Funding

As we're in the middle of yet another system, FEMA is looking at last week's ice storm. It could be deemed a federal disaster. Our team was invited to tour the hardest hit areas.
As we're in the middle of yet another system, FEMA is looking at last week's ice storm. It could be deemed a federal disaster. Our team was invited to tour the hardest hit areas.

"See you can hear them breaking, you can hear more trees breaking," Spokesperson from Vermont Electric Cooperative said. It’s proof the ice storm took its toll.

"The electric company has given us figures, we're just out here to verify it," Jerry Vezina, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.

Representatives from FEMA are touring seven counties in Northern Vermont, to see the damage.

"We're looking at where lines were spliced together, places where trees were cut down to release power lines, debris piles," Ben Rose said, who is the Recovery and Mitigation Section Chief for Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

If the storm caused more than a million dollars worth of damage throughout the state, Vermont will qualify for federal funds. Each county could qualify individually as well. 

"They need to have $3.50, times their county population, so the threshold for Essex County Vermont, where there are only 6,000, some odd people, there's only 21,000 dollars," Rose explained.

Some trees were completely bent over, causing many of them to snap. That left 22,000 Vermonters without power, many of those were left in the dark for days.

"I have a paper birch here and it was leaning over the house and leaning down onto the lawn," Clark Adams said.

"While we're busy doing one, we're moving to another,"  the spokesperson from VEC said.

Any money from FEMA would be used to reimburse utility companies, like Vermont Electric Cooperative, Enosburg Electric and Barton Electric.

It could take about a week to tally all of the costs. Then we'll know if money will be coming from the federal government.

 

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