BEVERLY, Mass. – One month after the presidential disaster declaration, more than $2 million in state and federal disaster aid has been approved to help Massachusetts residents recover from losses resulting from the record-setting April rainfall that flooded thousands of area basements.
The following is a brief snapshot of disaster recovery efforts, close of business, May 19:
- To date, 1,461 applicants from the five declared counties have called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to apply for state and federal aid. Essex County represents 58 percent (852 applicants) of the total, with Middlesex registrations at 451 (31 percent), Norfolk at 34, Suffolk at 78 and Worcester tallying 46;
- More than 87 percent of these applicants have been approved for grants available through the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) totaling $2,025,042;
- IHP grants for Housing Assistance to help with temporary housing and essential home repairs total $1,883,613 for 1,092 eligible applicants;
- IHP grants for Other Needs Assistance to help meet serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other programs total $139,268 for 334 approved applicants. Serious needs include personal property replacement, along with moving and storage, transportation and other necessary expenses;
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued 1,354 low-interest disaster loan applications: 1,240 are for low-interest home repair/personal property loans to homeowners and renters, along with 114 business loan applications; and
- FEMA inspectors have completed 96 percent (1,306) of 1,354 requests to review damaged property. Depending on applicants’ schedules, most inspections take place within two days of registration.
“We are still receiving several hundred registration calls a week,” Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo said, “and we’ll continue to reach out to every homeowner, renter and business with uninsured costs to help them recover from the flooding.”
State Coordinating Officer Cristine McCombs, acting director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), said that recovery specialists are making every effort to ensure that area residents with flood-related damages apply for aid.
“Right now, our community relations teams are cross-checking with local fire departments to contact residents that requested help to pump out swamped basements,” McCombs said. “If there is any residual flood damage or a shortfall in insurance coverage, we want to make sure they’ve called us.”
Residents and business owners with flood-related losses must call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to be eligible for state/FEMA disaster assistance. Hearing and speech impaired individuals should call 1-800-462-7585 (TTY). Lines are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday until further notice.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.