NEWS

Maine Governor Announces Storm Recovery Efforts and FEMA Assistance

Maine Governor Janet Mills has declared a state of civil emergency and launched a storm recovery website to help the residents and businesses affected by the severe wind and rain storm that hit the state on December 19, 2023. The governor also announced that the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has requested a preliminary damage assessment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to seek federal disaster support.

State of Civil Emergency for 14 Counties

The governor’s proclamation of a state of civil emergency covers 14 counties that were hardest hit by the storm, which left hundreds of thousands of people without power and caused significant flooding and infrastructure damage. The counties are Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo and Washington.

The declaration mobilizes all state resources to assist and support response and recovery efforts and positions the state to seek federal disaster support in the coming weeks. The governor said that her administration has been in close and constant communication with local and federal officials throughout the storm and that she has been briefed by the director of MEMA and the commissioners of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, and others on the coordinated response efforts.

Maine Governor Announces Storm Recovery Efforts and FEMA Assistance

“Since the beginning of this storm, I have told my administration to assist and support local officials wherever needed to help Maine people respond and stay safe,” Governor Mills said. “My administration has been and will continue to work around the clock, in partnership with local public safety officials, county emergency management personnel, and CMP and Versant to clear debris from roads, to assess and repair damage caused by flood waters, and to restore power to Maine people as soon as possible.”

Storm Recovery Website and FEMA Damage Assessment

The governor also launched a storm recovery website, which provides information and resources for Maine people and businesses affected by the storm. The website includes links to report power outages, request assistance, access emergency shelters, apply for disaster loans, and more. The website can be accessed at www.maine.gov/stormrecovery.

In addition, the governor announced that MEMA has requested that FEMA begin a preliminary damage assessment of the damage caused by the storm to Maine communities. The assessment will help determine the extent and cost of the damage and whether the state meets the threshold for federal disaster declaration and assistance. The assessment will begin on January 3, 2024 and will involve teams of state and federal officials visiting the impacted areas and documenting the damage.

“This storm has been devastating for many Maine people and businesses, and we are doing everything we can to help them recover and rebuild,” Governor Mills said. “We are grateful for the support and cooperation of our federal partners, and we hope that this assessment will lead to additional resources and relief for our state.”

Tips for Storm Recovery and Safety

The governor also urged Maine people to follow some tips for storm recovery and safety, such as:

  • Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly, disabled, or isolated.
  • Avoid downed power lines and report them to your utility company.
  • Use generators, heaters, and candles safely and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not drive through flooded roads or bridges and obey road closure signs.
  • Document and photograph any damage to your property and contact your insurance company.
  • Beware of scams and frauds and report any suspicious activity to the Attorney General’s Office.

The governor also thanked the first responders, utility workers, volunteers, and others who have been working tirelessly to help Maine people during this difficult time.

“I want to thank all the heroes who have been working day and night to restore power, clear roads, provide shelter, and offer assistance to those in need,” Governor Mills said. “You are the best of Maine, and we owe you a debt of gratitude.”

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