For Immediate Release - March 25, 2010


Federal Individual Assistance for Flood-Impacted Residents Sought to Help Residents, Businesses Recover

BOSTON - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today announced he has requested President Obama declare a major disaster in Massachusetts in order to make assistance available to individuals, households and businesses of Essex, Middlesex, Worcester, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth Counties impacted by the statewide rainstorm and severe flooding beginning on March 12, 2010. Read Governor Patrick's letter to President Obama .

"We are committed to doing everything we can to help our residents, businesses and communities recover from the devastating impacts of this month's storm," said Governor Patrick. "I am hopeful that our request to the President for a disaster declaration will be granted and will help bring us one step closer to securing the assistance people need to rebuild."

To demonstrate the need for the 'Individual Assistance Program' offered by the federal government, the Commonwealth, through the efforts of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency, must present a compelling picture of the human suffering as a result of this event. There is no 'monetary threshold' associated with the 'Individual Assistance Program', but a demonstration is required of the breadth of the impact and number of individuals involved. FEMA preliminary damage assessment teams that have visited 60 communities in the last week documented that hundreds of homes suffered major, uninsured damage to living spaces; that over a thousand homes suffered minor damage but still incurred a significant loss; many nursing homes and special needs facilities were evacuated; and habitability of many homes remains in question.

The Governor is specifically requesting the following "Individual Assistance" programs be immediately expedited: Individuals and Households Programs (IHP), Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Legal Assistance, Tax Relief, and Small Business Administration Disaster Loans. This assistance is requested to meet the recovery needs of communities still struggling with the impacts of flooding.

By the beginning of next week, flood waters will have receded sufficiently to allow local, state and federal officials to transition from the present response mode to a recovery mode. At that time, officials expect that public infrastructure damage will become more visible and evident, and preliminary assessments can be made of the scope of damage to public roads, dams, bridges as well as the public safety costs incurred by first responders.

Once a determination is made that the Commonwealth meets the minimum federal threshold of approximately $8,200,000, the Governor will request a separate declaration for 'Public Assistance' to help fund the repair, restoration and/or reconstruction of public facilities and infrastructure.

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.

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