Monte Rio in Sonoma County was underwater after the Russian River flooded in late February 2019.

Jeffrey Schaub/KCBS Radio

Russian River Flood Victims Won't Receive FEMA Funds

Jeffrey Schaub
May 21, 2019 - 1:03 pm

GUERNEVILLE — Residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged by flooding along the Russian River will not receive assistance from the federal government. 

President Trump has authorized millions in federal disaster relief for counties devastated by the late February flooding. But the money is restricted to reimbursing counties, including Sonoma, for infrastructure damage. 

California officials never asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid property owners, because the overall damage did not meet federal standards. 

"There's so many people that lost so much," said resident Barbara Dehass, who said she has friends who've lived in their car since their home was wrecked. "There's so many resorts and houses that just went under."

Related: Sonoma County Approves Special Funding To Haul Away Flood Debris

The number of damaged home along the Russian River turned out to be hundreds fewer than initially estimated. FEMA's threshold for providing relief was 800 homes. 

But some residents said that shouldn't matter. 

"I think they should give these people relief," said Anthony Gardner, "because people have lost a lot of possessions and a lot of sweat equity in their houses."

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