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Hundreds Of Tornado Survivors Waiting On Pending FEMA Appeals

A number of fundraising events are planned for July.
George Drake, Jr.
A number of fundraising events are planned for July.

Nearly six months after the Memorial Day tornadoes, hundreds of people who sought federal disaster assistance continue to wait for final word on their applications. 

According to the latest Federal Emergency Management Agency data, 336 people across the 11-county disaster zone who applied for assistance are still working their way through the appeals process.

FEMA has already paid out more than $4.6 million in Individual Assistance grants. 

The disaster damaged at least 4,434 properties in Montgomery County alone, many of them apartments, and the agency reports it's so far awarded Individual Assistance to more renters than homeowners there. 

In Montgomery, Greene and Mercer Counties, more than 80 percent of people awarded assistance had rented before the tornadoes hit.

Credit FEMA, The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency

Overall, FEMA has so far denied 5,250 applications --- more than three times the number it approved.

Anyone denied for Individual Assistance has the right to file an appeal. 

Among the many reasons FEMA applications are denied, spokesperson Cassie Ringsdorf says, are when FEMA agents are unable to locate an applicant or verify information listed in a claim, or when a homeowner or renter’s insurance company is already covering the eligible claimed storm damage.

Credit FEMA, The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency

Copyright 2019 WYSO

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding Americainitiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.