Governor requests individual assistance for people impacted in Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford, Somerset Counties
MEMA continues working with local partners to estimate the cost of damage caused by last week’s storm. If the damage exceeds State’s ability to respond, Governor Mills says she will seek another Federal Disaster Declaration
Governor Janet Mills today formally requested that President Joe Biden issue a Major Disaster Declaration to help ten Maine counties recover from the severe December storm that brought significant flooding, power outages, and damage to central and western Maine.
In a letter sent today to President Biden, Governor Mills said that the cost of damage resulting from the weather event – estimated to have caused $20 million in public infrastructure damage – is beyond the ability of the State of Maine to address. If the President approves the Governor’s request, Maine would gain access to federal funds it could use to repair damaged roads, bridges, public buildings, utilities, and other public infrastructure in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington Counties.
In addition to requesting public assistance, the Governor asked President Biden to authorize individual assistance to eligible families impacted by property damage in Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford, and Somerset Counties. A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assessment, conducted earlier this month at the request of Governor Mills, found that the high level of damage across those five counties met the federal government’s threshold for individual assistance.
FEMA’s assessment identified 13 destroyed, 106 major, 65 minor, and 31 affected properties across the five counties, which is believed to be representative of further widespread damage in the area. Just 6 percent of owner-occupied properties across the five counties were estimated to have been covered by flood insurance at the time of the storm. In her letter, the Governor wrote that a lack of alternative housing options and skilled contractors, the cost of replacing major appliances, need for mold remediation, and other challenges make the circumstances beyond the ability of the state or communities to support.
“With the hardest hit areas residing in low-income communities, and limitations associated with the lack of skilled contractors, available housing and readily available major household items, the ability for these individuals to recover is well beyond the physical or fiscal capacity of the community or the state at large to support,” Governor Mills wrote in her letter to President Biden. "The State of Maine is therefore requesting every available area within the Individual Assistance program to support the impacted individuals and families across Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford, and Somerset counties.
The requests submitted by the Governor are specifically for Public Assistance (PA) Program, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, and the Individual Assistance Program (IA). FEMA’s Public Assistance Program provides supplemental grants to State, local, and Tribal governments so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding to State, local, and Tribal and governments so they can develop hazard mitigation plans and rebuild in a way that reduces, or mitigates, future disaster losses in their communities. The Individual Assistance Program provides financial assistance and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster, who have uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs.
The Governor’s request does not cover last week’s significant storms which brought historic flooding to the Maine coast. MEMA continues working with local partners to estimate the cost of damage caused by the storms. Once that process is complete, MEMA will request that FEMA dispatch Federal officials to Maine as soon as possible to begin the process of conducting the Federal Preliminary Damage Assessment, in which FEMA reviews and validates damage assessments gathered by local officials. If the damage from these storms meets the financial statutory threshold exceeding the State’s ability to respond, Governor Mills will seek another Federal Disaster Declaration – in addition to the one she requested today. Additionally, the State is exploring the possibility of requesting Fishery Disaster Assistance from the Federal government to aid in the recovery of Maine’s commercial fishing industry.
Last week, the Governor declared a State of Civil Emergency for Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, Washington, and York to mobilize all available state resources for response and recovery and to position Maine to seek federal disaster support in the near future. The Governor continues to ask Maine people impacted by last week’s flooding to report it to the state by dialing 2–1–1 or visiting the Mills Administration’s Flood Resources and Assistance Hub at https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/flood.
Copies of Governor Mills' letters to the President are below:
- State of Maine Declaration Request Cover Letter: Severe Storm and Flood (PDF)
- Request to FEMA for Presidential Disaster Declaration Major Disaster or Emergency (PDF)