The State of Emergency that Governor Deval Patrick declared last week in response to the March 29 storm that produced heavy rains, widespread road closures and major flooding has been terminated. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) affirmed that assistance will be available to residents and businesses impacted by storms.
Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray signed the State of Emergency termination document on Monday morning, which demobilized the Massachusetts National Guard called to duty by the Governor to fill and transport sandbags to affected areas, direct traffic, conduct wellness checks and patrol areas with forced evacuations.
FEMA's announcement affirmed that the current Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance will now apply to individuals and businesses impacted by both flooding events last month - March 12-15 and March 29-30.
"I am thankful to President Obama for acknowledging the impact the two storms and resulting flooding has created for most of the Commonwealth," said Governor Patrick. "We urge people to register with FEMA and apply for help, especially if you need assistance with housing, clothing, food, and other basic needs."
The assistance was initially authorized under a Major Federal Disaster Declaration requested by Governor Patrick on March 25 and issued by President Barack Obama on March 29 for the March 12-15 storm and flooding event. In the three days since the approval, 5,170 people have applied and FEMA inspectors have already started visiting homes of these applicants to make determinations quickly and get assistance to impacted homeowners and businesses.
"Communities across the Commonwealth were dramatically impacted by the two major storms that struck Massachusetts at the end of last month," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Governor Patrick and our administration appreciate the support and recognition by President Obama, who declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts last week as a result of these devastating storms. At this time, it is imperative that our residents learn of the resources and funding available through FEMA so that they can receive the proper assistance during this critical time."
The President's action makes Individual Assistance (IA) Programs available to affected homeowners, renters and businesses in a seven-county area - Essex, Middlesex, Worcester, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth Counties. State officials are reviewing data to see if any additional counties qualify to be added to the eligibility list.
IA Programs administered by FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA) include Individuals and Households Programs (IHP), Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Legal Assistance, Tax Relief and Small Business Administration Disaster Loans.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can initiate the application process for assistance by calling the FEMA Teleregistration numbers: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired, or by registering online at www.fema.gov. The toll-free Teleregistration numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.