Washington, DC – Just hours after U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and the Maryland Congressional delegation urged President Obama to grant a major disaster declaration, in advance of Hurricane Irene, the White House has announced that such a declaration has been approved. Maryland is now eligible for federal disaster recovery dollars through the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), ensuring the already strained state budget is not stretched any thinner as a result of this natural disaster. FEMA previously announced that it had pre-positioned emergency supplies on the Eastern Shore.
“Hurricane Irene is heading our way and all Marylanders need to be prepared for the worst. Thankfully, our state, local and federal emergency management officials have been working ahead of this storm to make our communities as prepared as we can be for weather of this magnitude. President Obama’s swift approval of a pre-disaster declaration is clear recognition of the urgent need to address sheltering, evacuation, debris removal and other emergency resources across the projected path of the hurricane,” said Senator Cardin. “I urge all Marylanders to listen to local evacuation orders, if you are in affected areas, and to stay home and off the roads, if you are elsewhere in the state. The priority for all is to stay safe and allow emergency personnel to do their jobs.”
According to the White House announcement, “The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Baltimore, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, Worcester, and Baltimore City.
“Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.”