WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) were joined by members of Maryland’s Congressional Delegation today in sending a letter to President Barack Obama supporting Governor O’Malley’s updated request for Individual Assistance for Lower Shore counties which experienced the most severe damage as a result Super-Storm Sandy. The letter was signed by Senators Mikulski and Cardin, as well as U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.), Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.).
“It’s been a month since this storm affected our state. The individual assistance requested will provide vital resources to save lives and protect property,” Team Maryland wrote. “We urge a swift decision on this amended request, absent of bureaucratic delay. The situation in these localities has the potential to negatively impact services in other areas, given an already strained economic environment.”
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide updated impact and damage information for Lower Shore communities in Dorchester, Somerset and Worcester Counties. Individual disaster assistance would provide housing assistance and disaster related support for families and individuals coping with the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Last week, President Obama approved Governor O’Malley’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration which Team Maryland supported. Their letter to support is available here. FEMA is still reviewing Maryland’s request for individual assistance. This critical aid provides housing assistance and disaster related support for families and individuals coping with the immediate aftermath of the storm.
The full text of the letter to President Obama follows:
November 30, 2012
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write to lend our strong support for amended individual assistance request submitted by Governor O’Malley on November 30, 2012. His letter makes specific amendments for all categories of Individual Assistance for the County of Somerset, which experienced the most severe consequences of Super Storm Sandy.
It has been a month since this storm affected of state. The residents of Somerset, particularly in the areas of Crisfield and Smith Island, are still suffering and in desperate need of assistance. We believe that the supplemental information that you have received demonstrates the real need of the residents in this area. 585 homes in Somerset were affected by the storm, 71 of those experiencing major damage and 2 homes being completely destroyed. Only 32% of these homes have been found to be insured. In a county where the poverty rate is among the highest in the state, and the median income represents only 57% of the state average, we are concerned about further economic harm to these residents as they further await assistance.
We urge a swift decision on this amended request, absent of bureaucratic delay. The situation in these localities has the potential to negatively impact services in other areas, given an already strained economic environment.
Maryland continues to assess the full amount of damages and losses for this disaster, and we are grateful for the work of our federal partners as we do so. The individual assistance requested will provide vital resources to save lives and protect property. We appreciate your full consideration of this outstanding portion of Maryland’s request, and look forward to continue working with you in this recovery.
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