ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 14, 2012) – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski (Both D-MD) and Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that President Obama has approved an Individual Assistance disaster declaration for Somerset County for damages from Superstorm Sandy. The Individual Assistance declaration will make federal funds available to homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered property damages as a result of the storm.
“FEMA and President Obama have delivered great news for the people of Crisfield and Somerset County on what has otherwise been a sobering day. Hurricane Sandy hit the people of Somerset County particularly hard. The damage has been too great to expect the local officials to handle alone and the federal government had to step in to help,” said Senator Cardin. “Together, we also will continue to seek the needed assistance for other communities still struggling in their recovery efforts.”
“FEMA’s approval of individual disaster assistance to Sandy’s victims in Somerset County is a long-awaited gift this holiday season. It restores the light in some of our hardest hit communities during this Season of Light,” U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski said. “Senator Cardin and I refused to stand by while red tape and regulations stopped residents from getting the help they need. While we are thankful and ready for assistance to begin in Crisfield and Somerset County’s communities, we have not forgotten the rest of our communities. We will keep fighting for the victims of Sandy in Maryland.”
“I’d like to thank President Obama, Senators Mikulski and Cardin and our entire Congressional delegation for making this assistance available to Maryland residents who have suffered severe economic hardship because of Superstorm Sandy. This assistance will provide much-needed and long-awaited relief for hundreds of residents in Somerset County,” said Governor O’Malley. “I’d also like to thank our local partners like Senator Mathias who have been instrumental in highlighting the needs of residents. Together, we will continue to recover and build a more resilient Maryland.”
The President had previously agreed to fund Public Assistance in most Maryland counties to help pay for state and local government costs for preparation for and cleanup from Sandy. However, the President had denied the state’s request for Individual Assistance. Maryland appealed that decision on Wednesday and Governor O’Malley was notified of the approval of Somerset County today.
“We encourage anyone in Somerset County who suffered damages to register with the FEMA toll-free number – 800-621-FEMA (3362) — as soon as possible,” said Ken Mellette, Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. “The federal programs may be able to help cover costs that were not covered by insurance, including building repairs and temporary living costs.”
Officials noted that federal assistance is not designed to fully return property to the condition it was in before the storm hit, but to deal with immediate health and safety issues. Low interest loans through the Small Business Administration also will be available for some residents and business owners for more substantial costs.