- Governor Charlie Baker | Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
- Daniel Bennett, EOPSS Secretary
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Federal Disaster Assistance for March Storm
Christopher Besse, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
BOSTON — In response to Governor Charlie Baker’s request for federal disaster assistance, the White House and FEMA announced today that the President has issued a Major Disaster Declaration that will make federal disaster assistance available for the severe storm that impacted the state on March 2-3. Federal aid will be available to cities and towns, state agencies and certain non-profits in six counties to help cover storm-related response and repair costs as a result of this severe winter storm. A separate request from Governor Baker for federal disaster assistance to cities and towns, state agencies and certain non-profits for the March 13th severe winter storm is still pending.
For the March 2-3 winter storm, which included widespread coastal flooding, damaging hurricane-force winds and prolonged power outages, federal disaster assistance has been authorized by the President under a Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance that covers six Massachusetts counties: Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Nantucket, Norfolk and Plymouth. These are the six counties whose eligible storm costs exceeded federal financial thresholds under the Public Assistance Program.
“We greatly appreciate this federal disaster assistance that will help provide much needed financial support to the cities and towns, state agencies, and non-profits that incurred enormous response, recovery, and repair costs as a result of these powerful storms,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The damaging winds, historic coastal flooding, and heavy snowfall caused significant impacts, including flooding and damage to homes and businesses across many communities in eastern Massachusetts and we were pleased to work on their behalf to secure this important support.”
“These reimbursements will provide crucial financial relief to the cities and towns in these counties” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is pleased to have worked closely with local, state, and federal officials during the response and to support the ongoing damage assessment and recovery process.”
“I am thankful for the tremendous response by first responders, the Massachusetts National Guard, emergency management officials and others during this challenging storm,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “The disaster assistance will reimburse local and state agencies for a large portion of their costs - - likely more than $25 million - - of providing emergency services during the storm, clearing debris and snow, and repairing damaged infrastructure.”
“The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, along with FEMA, worked closely with the cities and towns in the impacted counties, and with state agencies and non-profits to document and assess storm costs and damages and to seek federal disaster assistance,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Now that a Major Disaster Declaration has been issued, we will work with our municipal, state and non-profit partners to ensure that federal aid is delivered as quickly as possible.”
Under the Public Assistance Program, affected local governments, state agencies and some private non-profit organizations in the declared counties will be reimbursed for 75% of their costs associated with response and emergency protective measures, including storm-related overtime for first responders, clearing debris from public roads and public property, and repairing, replacing, restoring or reconstructing damaged public facilities and infrastructure. Federal disaster funds will also be available for projects that will mitigate the costs and impacts of future disasters.
In the near future, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and FEMA will announce a series of information sessions in the impacted counties during which the process for applying for federal disaster assistance will be explained to municipal and state officials and eligible non-profits.
The U.S. Small Business Administration previously announced that it is offer low interest loans to residents and businesses affected by the March 2-3, 2018 severe winter storm in Norfolk, Bristol, Middlesex, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties. Residents and businesses in the six counties can apply for disaster assistance loans online or over the phone (1-800-659-2955).
MEMA has determined that the Commonwealth is not eligible for federal disaster assistance for the March 7-8 storm.