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Sarbanes Joins Maryland Delegation in Request for Major Disaster Declaration for State Following Super-Storm Sandy
Delegation asks President Obama to support Governor O’Malley’s request for a major disaster declaration as communities across Maryland struggle to recover from Super-Storm Sandy
WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) and members of Maryland’s Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to President Barack Obama supporting Governor O’Malley’s request for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Maryland as a result of Super-Storm Sandy. If awarded, Maryland will become eligible for federal disaster recovery dollars through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ensuring the state’s already strained budget is not stretched any thinner. The letter was signed by Congressman Sarbanes, Senators Mikulski and Cardin, as well as U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), Roscoe E. Barlett (R-Md.), Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.).
“Super-Storm Sandy delivered severe storms, flooding, winds, unprecedented levels of precipitation, and heavy snowfall to the State,” Team Maryland wrote. “[T]his determination is necessary to address sheltering needs, resource transportation, debris removal, and evacuation assistance in advance of this storm. This situation has the potential to negatively impact services in other areas, given an already strained state budget environment.”
The major disaster declaration would provide Individual Assistance for the counties of Dorchester, Somerset, and Worcester including Ocean City; Public Assistance for all counties within the state and the Independent City of Baltimore; and Hazard Mitigation for all counties and the Independent City of Baltimore.
Prior to the storm, Team Maryland urged President Obama to support Governor O’Malley’s request for a Pre-Disaster Declaration, which the Administration approved. That declaration ensured that Maryland became eligible for federal disaster funding from FEMA as the state prepared for potential damage.
Super-Storm Sandy and preparations preceding it lasted from October 25 to November 4. The storm included maximum wind speeds of 90 mph and deposited up to two inches of rain per hour from the Delmarva to the I-95 corridor. The damages experienced from this storm have ranged from severe flooding from heavy rains, high winds and significant coastal flooding in the eastern region of the State; heavy rains, high winds and significant coastal flooding along the Chesapeake Bay in the densely populated central region; and significant heavy wet snowfall and rain in the western portion of the state.
The text of the delegation’s letter of support is as follows:
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to express our very strong support for Governor O'Malley's November 8, 2012 request for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Maryland as a result of Super-Storm Sandy which initially affected Maryland beginning October 25, 2012 through November 4, 2012. Given the significant impact that this storm had on Maryland’s already thin resources, we respectfully request that you urgently approve Federal assistance.
Super-Storm Sandy delivered severe storms, flooding, winds, unprecedented levels of precipitation, and heavy snowfall to the State. Governor O’Malley took appropriate action under Maryland law, directing the execution of the State CORE Emergency Operations Plan. The Governor further declared that a State of Emergency existed within the entire state beginning October 27, 2012 and the Maryland National Guard was called into service. However, this determination is necessary to address sheltering needs, resource transportation, debris removal, and evacuation assistance in advance of this storm. This situation has the potential to negatively impact services in other areas, given an already strained state budget environment.
Maryland and its local jurisdictions have contributed a vast amount of resources in a very short period. The state continues to assess the full amount of damages and losses for this disaster, although preliminary assessments show severe damage to infrastructure and public safety needs. The assistance requested will provide vital resources to save lives and protect property. We appreciate your consideration of Maryland’s request, and look forward to continue working with you in this recovery.
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