Will Niagara County Residents Receive Disaster Relief Funds?

July 11, 2013 Updated Jul 11, 2013 at 6:44 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

July 11, 2013 Updated Jul 11, 2013 at 6:44 PM EDT

LOCKPORT, NY (WKBW) -There may be no relief for victims of a multi-million dollar disaster in Niagara County. Residents are still cleaning up from major flooding in Lockport and now they're learning that they may not be eligible for federal assistance. Officials from FEMA toured the City of Lockport earlier this week and determined most of the flood damage is contained to basements, which FEMA does not consider to be a primary living space. FEMA has yet to approve a natural disaster declaration in the state, unless the disaster causes at least $26 million in damage.
City of Lockport Mayor Michael Tucker says the majority of residents saw extreme flooding to basements when the sewer overflowed. With a FEMA policy not allowing basement compensation, many are forced to fall back on their home insurance and that is turning into a nightmare for many Niagara County residents.

"If the water had come up through the sewer pipe then they would be covered but because it's a flood they're not covered. It's really just a play on words. I mean certainly all of the water overloaded the system which forced the sewage up through the sewer pipe. You know it's kind of a sham really," added Tucker.

Local leaders are hoping their federal and state counterparts can bring enough pressure on FEMA so homeowners, businesses and others are not out thousands of dollars from the storm.