State launches donation portal supporting those impacted in southwest Florida tornadoes

Move comes after federal government denied request for assistance

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A new donation portal opened Tuesday for those impacted by tornadoes that touched down in southwest Florida last month.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Division of Emergency Management announced the launch of the new website for those affected by the tornadoes that touched down in Charlotte and Lee counties on Jan. 16.

This comes after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denying the state’s request for individual assistance in southwest Florida areas.

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The state of Florida will partner with the Charlotte Community Foundation to collect and distribute donations for the portal. Donations will be prioritized for homes that suffered severe damage based on FEMA criteria.

“We cannot continue waiting on the federal government to provide relief to these Floridians,” DeSantis said in a press release. “After meeting with survivors last week, it’s clear they still need our help. We’ve helped community leaders launch this portal to expedite assistance for impacted residents and we’re going to ensure they get help.”

DeSantis previously accused the Biden Administration and FEMA of delaying help to Floridians impacted by the tornadoes because of “politics.”

FEMA determined the damage incurred “was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies” to respond to, according to the agency.

FDEM disaster recovery staff determined 158 homes in Lee and Charlotte counties were either destroyed or sustained major damage in the weather event, according to the division.

For more information on how to access the portal, click here.

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Brittany joined in January 2022.