'Major disaster' status for Washington state?

 

Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) is asking President Obama to declare the area damaged by the recent mudslide in his state a “major disaster.” 

Receiving that status from the federal government would allow victims to receive direct federal aid for any losses, including housing and employment. 

More than a week after the mudslide, Inslee on Monday made the request in a letter, which The Seattle Times posted online.

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“This disaster is quickly becoming one of the worst in state history” in terms of fatalities and destruction to a community, Inslee wrote in the letter. 

At least two dozen people died in the landslide, and as many as 22 people are still missing, multiple reports on Tuesday said. 

Obama has already signed off on an expanded emergency declaration, which does provide federal assistance, but it doesn’t go directly to victims. 

“I am hopeful that the President can act favorably and quickly on this request to provide assistance to help the survivors begin to recover from this terrible disaster,” Inslee said in a statement. “Words cannot describe the devastation done to the community of Oso and the impact the landslide continues to have in Darrington, Arlington and neighboring communities.”

Major disaster aid can cover up to 18 months of temporary housing and offer unemployment benefits, as well as grants for property, transportation, dental, funeral and medical expenses.