WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., expressed disappointment Sunday with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s award of disaster funds to just two of five Connecticut counties damaged by a devastating nor’easter that hit the region in April. He said he would press FEMA to award disaster aid to the three remaining counties.
The Bush Administration informed Lieberman that assistance would be granted for clean up and repairs in Fairfield and Litchfield Counties. Governor Jodi Rell and the Connecticut Congressional delegation had also requested assistance for Hartford, New Haven, and Middlesex Counties.
“The storm had a major impact on Connecticut residents, businesses, and state and local government property,” Lieberman said. “I am pleased FEMA has agreed to provide assistance to two Connecticut counties. But its failure to aid the three others affected does not take into account the magnitude of the state’s losses and the inability of the state and local governments to pay for them. I will continue to fight to get the remaining three counties added to FEMA’s disaster declaration.”
The April storm unleashed heavy rain, frozen precipitation, high winds, and coastal, riverine and urban flooding beginning on April 15, 2007, in the five counties. The nor’easter caused flooding along the Farmington, Housatonic and Connecticut rivers for several days.
In a preliminary damage assessment, the Governor’s office had estimated flooding damage to over 2,406 residential units and more than 179 businesses. Private sector losses were estimated at over $31 million and public sector damages were estimated at close to $12 million.
Lieberman, and the entire Connecticut delegation, in a letter dated May 1, 2007, had asked President Bush and FEMA’s regional director to grant the state’s request for federal assistance for the five Connecticut counties.