March 25, 2010
Governor Rell: FEMA, State Damage Assessment Teams Fanning Out to Examine Storm Effects Monday
Officials to Visit Fairfield County Towns Hit Hard by Storm
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that, in response to her request for possible federal disaster assistance after the severe storms that battered the state March 13-14, state and federal emergency management officials will meet in Hartford on Monday to begin conducting joint damage assessments.
The surveys by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) follow preliminary reviews by DEMHS that indicated the costs and damage amounted to more than $7 million.
The goal is to verify that Connecticut has met the federal thresholds of at least $4.39 million in damages statewide and at least $2.85 million in damages in Fairfield County so that Governor Rell can request a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration. Costs covered by insurance will be deducted from damage estimates.
If a Presidential Declaration is issued, the state and certain counties will be eligible for “Public Assistance” (PA) – supplemental federal assistance provided to state, local and certain private, non-profit organizations for uninsured expenses as a result of a major disaster. Counties may also be eligible for “Individual Assistance” (IA), which provides financial assistance to eligible individuals and households who, as a direct result of a major disaster, have uninsured losses.
“There is little doubt in my mind that FEMA will see what I saw: a region battered by a storm more severe than any in recent memory,” Governor Rell said. “Thousands of trees were damaged or uprooted, hundreds of homes and cars were damaged and nearly 100,000 people were left without power – some for as long as six days after the storm. Communities from across the area have already reported significant costs and losses.
“I am pleased that FEMA is responding quickly to my request for this assessment,” the Governor said. “Like the state, homeowners and municipalities are operating on very tight budgets. If there is federal assistance available, I want to make sure that we get it as quickly as possible for everyone who is entitled to it.”
FEMA will be sending one or two IA damage assessment teams and as many as four PA assessment teams to meet state officials early Monday morning at the Emergency Operations Center in the William A. O’Neill Armory in Hartford. From there, the teams will fan out to the hardest-hit areas – mostly in Fairfield County. Towns likely to be visited include Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Westport and West Haven.
The U.S. Small Business Administration will also be part of the IA teams to assess damages to residences and businesses. The SBA has a low-interest loan program that may become available.