For Immediate Release - October 20, 2011

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE EXPANDED TO FIVE ADDITIONAL COUNTIES AFFECTED BY TROPICAL STORM IRENE

Tropical Storm Irene aid now available to Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk & Plymouth Counties

BOSTON – Thursday, October 20, 2011 – Governor Deval Patrick today announced that President Obama’s Administration has approved his request to expand the Major Disaster Declaration for Tropical Storm Irene to include Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk and Plymouth Counties in Massachusetts. This action makes assistance available to local communities, eligible private non-profit organizations and state agencies in the five additional counties impacted by the damaging winds and significant rainfall from Tropical Storm Irene.

“I would like to thank President Obama and his team at FEMA for expanding disaster assistance here in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. "This additional aid will help our communities recover from the damages caused by Tropical Storm Irene and rebuild stronger than before."

“With regions across the state impacted by Tropical Storm Irene, we’re encouraged by the federal assistance from the Obama Administration,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “By extending this support to additional communities along the South Coast, Cape and the Islands, Massachusetts is moving one step closer to recovering from the storm damages.”

The addition of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk and Plymouth Counties, to the previously declared Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties, now brings the total to nine counties eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) programs. Under the PA program, FEMA will provide reimbursement to local government, state agencies and various non-profit organizations for 75 percent of the total eligible of repair or replacement costs of public infrastructure, technical and advisory assistance, contracts and personnel overtime related to emergency protective measures and debris removal.

“Communities in these five counties bore much of the brunt of Irene’s fury, and I am grateful that FEMA has included them in the Major Disaster Declaration,” said U.S. Senator Scott Brown. “This assistance, coupled with the strength and resourcefulness of the people of Massachusetts will help our communities overcome the effects of this damaging storm.”

"Tropical Storm Irene may seem like a distant memory for many, but for those communities suffering severe damage, residents are still dealing with the effects of the storm,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “These additional funds will help make the repairs necessary to make Irene a distant memory for all."

“I am pleased that Governor Patrick and President Obama have worked together to provide this relief to the people of Southeastern Massachusetts,” said Congressman Barney Frank. “This underscores the importance of an adequately funded federal government so we can respond to these needs.

“Tropical Storm Irene hit the Commonwealth hard, and I’m pleased that the Administration has responded to our needs,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “I also want to commend the Patrick-Murray Administration for their response to this natural disaster.”

“I am very pleased to see federal assistance come through for counties in Massachusetts and for my towns in the Plymouth and Barnstable District,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “Residents in these communities will now be able to apply for financial relief for the damages they sustained from Tropical Storm Irene.”

“I’d like to thank both the Obama Administration and  FEMA for expanding the Disaster Declaration for Tropical Storm Irene to include Plymouth, Norfolk, Bristol, Barnstable and Dukes counties,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “This decision will help Massachusetts residents when they are most in need of help.”

“The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will continue to work with cities and towns to help them recoup all eligible expenditures attributed to this storm,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Shortly, we will be announcing the locations of regional briefings for local officials and eligible applicants throughout the Commonwealth, to assist them through this process.”

MEMA is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth. MEMA provides leadership to develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats. MEMA also train’s 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 manmade. For additional information about MEMA and Flooding Issues, go to www.mass.gov/mema.   

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