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Humphreys County flood victims urged not to give up on FEMA assistance

Posted at 9:59 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 22:59:01-04

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Humphreys County residents who were denied federal aid are urged not to give up on FEMA.

According to FEMA spokesperson Darrell Habisch, while many were rejected for aid after the flooding three weeks ago, aid is probably still available.

Many times a person is rejected because the organization needs more information on the claim to gauge how much aid is appropriate.

"This is government, it's not easy. Hang in there, keep the faith," said Habisch.

Habisch estimated up to 50% of people are rejected on their initial claim. However, the appeals process still could get a person money. Sometimes people will accidentally write the wrong information.

"We are tasked with being good stewards of the tax dollars. I know that sounds trite. But, it's true. Everything is documented," said Habisch.

Kenneth Pirtle is a Waverly man who had two of his homes heavily damaged by the flooding. He was approved for some FEMA aid but would like to appeal for some of his personal belongings that were destroyed.

"Get back online, reapply for it," said Pirtle. "Anyone that's been through any government assistance understands that it's rarely the first time. Appeal, put back in for it, it's there. The assistance is there."

Others are not so understanding. Local attorney Scott Daniel said the application process is too complicated.

"We know there was this major disaster here and I don't understand why FEMA isn't here to walk them through the process so they don't get denied that first time," said Daniel.

FEMA does have a temporary office in Waverly. It's located in the back of Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the middle of town.

Habisch said the office will stay in place until the state no longer needs it.