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November 17, 2017

MEMA assessing storm damage to see if Maine qualifies for federal relief

Photo / Peter Van Allen
Photo / Peter Van Allen
A tree downed in the Oct. 30 storm blocks through traffic on Route 88 in Yarmouth on that morning.

Maine Emergency Management Agency deployed seven teams to 14 Maine counties Thursday to begin assessing damages from the Oct. 29-30 windstorm that caused nearly 500,000 power outages throughout the state.

The Preliminary Damage Assessment teams include representatives from MEMA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as county and local officials. The assessment teams will survey damage in every county other than Aroostook and Washington counties and are expected to take several weeks to complete their assessments, which will help verify whether Maine reaches the threshold required to formally request a federal disaster declaration.

Once all of the data has been compiled, it is turned over to MEMA and eventually to Gov. Paul LePage.

"If the governor believes the damages 'are beyond state and local capabilities,' he will submit the written request to the President and specify the type of assistance needed and which counties are affected," MEMA stated in a news release. "It is important to remember that FEMA assistance is supplementary in nature and will only be authorized when a disaster is of the severity and magnitude to be beyond the effective response of the state and affected local governments. FEMA cannot duplicate assistance received through any other source including insurance or other federal programs."

MEMA advised that individual Mainers who might have suffered property damage in the storm should contact their insurance company and file a claim.

"Keep receipts of any disaster-related expenses such as lodging, medical, repair and cleaning supplies, etc. and make a list of the major items that have been damaged such as utilities, appliances, furniture, and personal property," MEMA stated. "This damage should also be reported to 2-1-1 Maine to help determine the extent and location of individual damages. It will also paint a full picture of the storm's impacts within the state."

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