Florida is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew, and Gov. Rick Scott says the federal government hasn’t done enough to help the state recover from the major storm.
On Monday, Scott called for the federal government to come through for Florida and approve his request for a major disaster declaration.
The federal government has already approved portions of the governor’s request for a major declaration in Florida, but Scott says it isn’t enough to deal with all of the impact from the storm, which made landfall as a Category 4 and a Category 3 storm.
Scott says approving the entire major disaster declaration would help families and businesses pay for temporary housing, home repairs and living expenses, especially in parts of the state like Northeast Florida which were pounded by Matthew.
Parts of the already approved disaster declaration will pay for the removal of debris and emergency protective measures in eight different Florida counties, including Duval, Brevard and St. Johns counties.
Scott has been traveling the state since the storm’s impact, surveying the damage which has been significant in those counties.
The governor says the entire disaster declaration is necessary because families are desperately trying to piece back together their lives after Matthew destroyed their homes.
“Today I was in St. Johns County and while many people are trying to rebuild, they need this key federal funding so they can start the process,” Scott said Monday. “At the state level, we are helping our communities any way we can and I am going to continue to fight for every available resource from the federal government so our families and businesses can get back to normal.”
On a federal level, Scott said he was still waiting, but wouldn’t give up the fight for an entire major disaster declaration.
“I am going to continue to call on the President to help our state because Floridians deserve nothing less,” Scott said. “I hope President Obama approves our request today.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials were in Jacksonville Monday to survey the damage from the storm. According to Action News JAX, FEMA officials are asking residents to help clean up debris, seaweed and boards lining the Jacksonville coastline.
While Matthew didn’t make as much impact as anticipated in some parts of the state, other areas were hit hard by the storm. Nearly 40,000 Floridians have already filed insurance claims due to damage from the storm.
Property damage from Matthew has totaled over $218 million in Florida already, but that number is expected to climb.
"We anticipate this number will grow as consumers return to their homes and assess the damage to their property and belongings," Karen Kees, a spokeswoman for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation told Reuters. "It will take time for this process to be complete."
Elsewhere, the damage from Hurricane Matthew has climbed to over $1 billion in places like North Carolina, where the storm headed after it hit Florida.
There had been no confirmation whether or not the White House will honor Scott’s request at the time of this article’s publication.