Disaster declaration for Oso landslide doesn't guarantee federal money

by: John Knicely Updated:

OLYMPIA, Wash. - On Tuesday, a FEMA task force gathered near the Snohomish County landslide as President Barack Obama addressed the disaster halfway across the world.  The President’s emergency declaration enacted federal resources, but it doesn’t guarantee that federal money will be available for the recovery.

 “I just spoke to Governor Inslee who swiftly declared a state of emergency,” said President Obama from The Hague, Netherlands.  “I signed that emergency declaration to ensure he's got the resources he needs.”

 At the same time, the FEMA task force was gathering in Darrington near the landslide that has killed at least 14 people. 

 President Obama signed off on Governor Jay Inslee’s declaration which is considered a limited emergency declaration.  That brought in extra federal resources, but not necessarily federal money.

 With that limited emergency declaration, the state must prove $9 million in damage to public property to qualify for federal reimbursement.  And the amount individuals would have to prove will later be determined by FEMA.

 Once the state can get in to assess the damage the governor’s office will write up a request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration.   That would bring automatic money with the amount to be determined later.

 As for any federal help on the search and rescue, a state official told KIRO 7 it hasn't been needed.  What's hindered the search and rescue hasn't been a lack of resources, but instead a matter of safety for the existing crews to get into the disaster area.