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Governor Mills Requests Major Disaster Declaration for Damage Caused by December Storm

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Governor Janet Mills today, Jan. 16, 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.

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