Napolitano Tours Flood-ravaged Rhode Island, Calls Damage Significant - NECN

Napolitano Tours Flood-ravaged Rhode Island, Calls Damage Significant



    (NECN: Alison King, Warwick, RI) - The President made a promise yesterday to the flood-weary people of Rhode Island that federal help is on the way. This afternoon, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is in Rhode Island, taking a firsthand look at the devastation.

    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano flew over flooded swaths of Rhode Island on Friday, calling the damage significant and saying she's considering a plea by officials for additional federal aid for the economically battered state.

    Some areas of the state were still under water after three days
    of pounding rain throughout the Northeast this week sent rivers
    overflowing to record levels, hitting Rhode Island harder than any
    other state.

    The National Weather Service said it did not expect the Pawtuxet
    River, source of much of the flooding, to go below flood stage
    until at least Sunday.

    President Barack Obama had already declared a disaster in much
    of the state. That triggers some federal money, but the state is
    required to pick up some of the tab.

    In a news conference with Napolitano on Friday, the state's
    congressional delegation pressed for more federal help in the form
    of grants, rather than loans. Rep. Jim Langevin, whose district was
    hardest hit, says families, individuals and businesses need the
    help as soon as possible.

    The delegation had already sent Napolitano a letter asking that
    a major disaster declaration be extended to the entire state. They
    also want the federal government to waive a requirement for the
    state to pick up 25 percent of the costs of the disaster response
    and to speed federal help to pay for ruined infrastructure.

    Carcieri has said the worst flooding to hit the state in at
    least 200 years might have caused hundreds of millions of dollars
    in damage. U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I, said the state was in
    crisis and needed help.

    *Material from The Associated Press used in this report*