Reporting from Hartford, Conn. — Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced that President Obama has reversed an earlier decision and approved federal disaster assistance for individual homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the severe storms and flooding that hit the state in March.
The decision came within 24 hours after the state filed an appeal with federal authorities. "This is wonderful news — and it is exactly the right decision," Rell said. "The information we provided just a day ago to the federal government demonstrated conclusively that Connecticut's residents and employers suffered major, unreimbursed losses from these storms."
Obama in April denied a request for federal aid to affected individuals in Fairfield, Middlesex, New London, New Haven and Windham counties following the severe storms of March 12 to 14 and 29 to 31.
At that time, the administration granted Rell's request for a "major disaster declaration," which allowed financial assistance to the state and municipal governments in Fairfield, Middlesex and New London counties.
But, following up on the portion of Rell's request that was denied, the state's Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security worked closely with 13 Federal Emergency Management Agency field workers to verify damage data submitted in the appeal. The new information, verified in a five-step process, "yielded nearly double the amount of damaged homes," Rell's press office said.
Rell's office said the state's preliminary damage assessment identified 1,315 homes in the five counties with damage totaling about $5 million. The new report verifies 2,498 homes with $16.5 million in damage.
Also, Rell's office said, since the first survey, the number of residents reporting damage has almost tripled and the number of validated reports doubled. Just 7% of residents filing damage reports said they were fully insured; and 1,593 residents now report mold, which could further damage their homes.