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Posted: Friday, August 29th, 2014 11:14 AM HST

FEMA denies Hawaii's post-storm disaster request

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Hawaii's request for a major disaster declaration after Tropical Storm Iselle.

Iselle made landfall over the Big Island's isolated and rural Puna region nearly three weeks ago.

FEMA says it denied the request Thursday because the damage wasn't severe enough. Agency spokesman Casey De Shong says officials identified 28 homes with major damages and 11 that were destroyed. He says 20 percent of those homes had insurance.

Approving Hawaii's request would have provided residents with help for uninsured damage such as home repair funds, low-interest loans and rental assistance.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige says the state is disappointed but it's still possible FEMA will help with public infrastructure damage.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has 30 days to appeal FEMA's decision.

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