L.A. County does not qualify for February storm funds

FEMA Project Specialist Alieu Sheriff, left, takes photographs as he and California Office of Emergency Services Disaster Assistance Programs Specialist Reuben Bernaldez tour the Iron Canyon Project site in Canyon Country on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Santa Clarita Valley will not be receiving federal funding to repair February storm damage, as Los Angeles County did not put in a request to do so.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did assist 42 California counties for February. Los Angeles was one of 16 counties to receive funding for January storm damage.

“L.A. County did not request assistance for February,” FEMA External Affairs Officer Victor Inge said.

For L.A. County, the damage threshold must reach $35 million to be a contender for federal assistance. Los Angeles County Department of Emergency Services Deputy Director Leslie Luke said the county’s damages equated to about $13.5 million.

“Normally, the county would declare a local emergency and ask for help from the state who would request from the federal government,” Luke said.

While the county did not proclaim an emergency, Luke said two or so individual cities within the county did.

Santa Clarita did not meet the required amount of damage to qualify for aid, according to Santa Clarita Emergency Services Supervisor Donna Nuzzi.

“We did not meet our threshold,” Nuzzi said. “That’s all I know.”

Counties who did receive assistance qualified for storms between February 1 to 23.

California Emergency Services’ Chief of Media Relations Brad Alexander said the February storms were impactful, especially after January storms. Those California counties that did need federal assistance could not recover financially on their own, he said.

“Based on preliminary damage assessments, the counties in the governor’s request from March 19 had verified damages to public infrastructure, response costs and emergency work that exceeded local capacities to respond to and recover from,” Alexander said.

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