Ida’s remnants: Fed OKs Connecticut disaster declaration

October 30, 2021 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Biden administration has approved two portions of Connecticut’s request for a major disaster declaration needed to secure federal funds for recovery from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which caused an estimated $7.2 million in damage in the state.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced Saturday that renters, homeowners and business owners in hard-hit Fairfield and New London counties — and residents of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations — will now be eligible for federal reimbursement for the costs of uninsured or underinsured storm damage to homes and personal property.

A stunned U.S. East Coast faced surging rivers, record-breaking rain, and dozens of deaths when the remnants of Ida walloped the region on Sept. 1, drowning many victims in their homes and cars. A veteran Connecticut State Police sergeant was killed after his vehicle was swept away by floodwaters.

The storm dumped as much as eight inches of rain on parts of Connecticut and caused heavy flooding. According to Lamont’s request, just 8% of damaged homes in New London County and 23% in Fairfield County had flood insurance.

The White House declaration said assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance Program may also include grants for temporary housing and emergency home repairs to make housing safe, accessible, and secure.

Lamont’s request for the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program also was approved. It will help state agencies, local governments, and the tribal nations take steps to reduce or eliminate long-term risk from natural disasters.

Meanwhile, the governor’s request for the FEMA Public Assistance Grant Program is still pending, awaiting completion of the FEMA Preliminary Damage Assessment. Lamont said he’s hopeful the state will soon receive approval for that program, which provides supplemental grants to state, tribal, and local governments, and certain types of private non-profits so they can recover from a storm or emergency.

“Approval of this declaration from President Biden will provide much-needed financial assistance to homeowners, renters, and business owners in the areas that were heavily impacted by the floods from this severe storm,” Lamont said in a statement.