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FEMA Administrator: Residents may need flood insurance, despite levee protection

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A levee in Granite City, Ill. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says homes and businesses in the Mississippi River floodplain may need flood insurance, even if they are protected by a levee like this one. (St. Louis Public Radio)

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says homes and businesses in the Mississippi River floodplain may need flood insurance, even if they are protected by a levee.

Last week senators from Missouri, Illinois and 16 other states sent a letter to Administrator Fugate.

The senators asked FEMA to change its policy, and include uncertified levees – and those that are under repair – when creating floodplain insurance maps.

Administrator Fugate says FEMA is reviewing the letter, but cautions that a river levee may not be enough to protect people from flood damage.

“And so it’s again important that everybody assess their risk, determine whether or not they need flood insurance, and understand that even levees that protect you against a river do not protect you from high rainfall flash flood events which may cause flooding inside of those protected areas,” Fugate said.

FEMA is expected to implement new flood insurance maps for the St. Louis region early next year.

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