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Reisterstown, MD (September 3, 2020) — Governor Larry Hogan today requested the White House issue a Major Disaster Declaration to assist communities impacted by Tropical Storm Isaias in August.
The request, made through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Public Assistance disaster relief program, would provide financial assistance to Calvert, Dorchester, and St. Mary’s counties and state agencies for repairs to public infrastructure, and reimburse for measures taken to prepare for and respond to last month’s storm.
“Tropical Storm Isaias caused significant damage in much of Maryland, especially in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore,” said Gov. Hogan. “Federal funding will help state and local agencies recover from the impacts of the storm. These funds are especially important because the COVID-19 pandemic has had drastic impacts on local and state budgets.”
Because of the dire economic conditions in Maryland as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. Hogan is asking the President to reimburse state and local agencies for 100 percent of eligible response and recovery efforts, rather than the typical local cost-share which agencies simply cannot afford.
The money will be used to reimburse costs of debris removal, the repair or replacement of uninsured public infrastructure, and emergency protective measures, such as operating Emergency Operations Centers and first response. The state also is requesting hazard mitigation funding which will allow communities to make investments to lessen the impacts of future disasters.
“Isaias spawned 10 tornadoes in Maryland and also caused extensive flood and wind damage,” said Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Russ Strickland. “Many of the responding agencies have already been stretched thin because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so federal assistance is especially important.”
If the President grants a Major Disaster Declaration, state agencies, local governments, and certain non-profit organizations will be eligible to submit the cost of operations and projects to FEMA for reimbursement.
State and local officials have been coordinating with FEMA since August to develop a complete picture of the extent of the damage. While assessments continue, officials believe damages exceed the federal threshold for Maryland and the counties included in the request.