Gov. Deval Patrick has asked President Obama to declare the state a disaster area in the wake of last week’s flooding. The president’s decision will determine whether millions of federal dollars flow into the state to reimburse homeowners for uninsured damage.
Gov. Deval Patrick has asked President Obama to declare the state a disaster area in the wake of last week’s flooding.
The president’s decision will determine whether millions of federal dollars flow into the state to reimburse homeowners for uninsured damage.
The governor’s letter cites record-breaking rainfall – 6 to 10 inches – in Norfolk, Plymouth, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties.
“Floodwaters poured into thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses, forcing residents to evacuate and posing health risks associated with sewage backups and mold growth,” Patrick wrote.
The storm hit the region hard, forcing scores of residents from their homes and damaging public infrastructure and personal property. In Quincy, cars, washing machines, family keepsakes and pumping stations were among the casualties.
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch said he expected the governor to make the request; he also said he expected Obama to approve it.
“From what we’ve seen in Quincy and other parts of the state, it seemed pretty clear we would have the evidence and the damage to back up the request,” he said.
Patrick’s letter paints a statewide picture of the damage done by flooding. It says the storm caused the death of a Middleton man who was pumping water out of his business, and the hospitalization of a Dedham resident who was injured when a sewer pipe burst as he removed water from his basement.
The letter also says millions of gallons of raw sewage poured into river systems, and that wastewater treatment plants were overtaxed.
Federal Emergency Management Agency and state emergency officials toured flooded areas of the state last week to gauge damage suffered by individual homeowners.
FEMA assessment teams visited 60 communities and documented that hundreds of homes sustained major, uninsured damage to living space, that more than a thousand sustained minor damage, and that many nursing homes and special-needs facilities were evacuated.
If the disaster-area declaration is made, homeowners will be able to begin working with FEMA on obtaining reimbursement for uninsured losses and damage.
Next week, officials will assess flooding-related damage to public property. In Quincy, that damage is estimated at more than $6 million, Koch said.
Reach Patriot Ledger writer Jack Encarnacao at firstname.lastname@example.org.