Thursday, April 15, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick has made a request to President Obama to declare a Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation in order to expedite financial aid to the local cities and towns of Essex, Middlesex, Worcester, Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth and Bristol Counties (Yet TBD) impacted by the statewide storms and severe flooding that began on March 12, 2010.
"We are committed to doing everything in our power to help our residents, businesses and communities recover from the devastation of last month's storms," said Governor Patrick. "The Obama Administration has been an important partner in our efforts to date and I am hopeful that our request to the President will be granted so that we can give our cities and towns the assistance they need to rebuild."
Since the floodwaters have receded, a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment has been conducted by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) teams to determine the extent of infrastructure damage in these most impacted counties. Seven teams, made up of FEMA, MEMA, Department of Public Safety, MassDOT and National Guard personnel, have visited 60 communities in the past several days, examining public roadways, culverts, bridges, dams and public facilities.
If granted, the 'Public Assistance' (PA) Program would reimburse communities located within the seven counties with a 75% federal share of the costs for the repair, restoration and/or reconstruction of public facilities and infrastructure, as well as flood-related overtime costs for first responders.
This request for a Federal Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation follows the President's action on March 29, 2010 to grant Governor Patrick's request to make 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.
To date, these IA Programs administered by FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA), which include Individuals and Households Programs (IHP), Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Legal Assistance, Tax Relief and Small Business Administration Disaster Loans have provided over $28 million in assistance to over 18,000 people.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties continue to be encouraged to 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.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA and Winter & Flooding Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Follow MEMA updates on Facebook and Twitter.