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January 31, 2024

Biden approves federal disaster assistance for much of Maine in wake of December storm

wet road tree fallen on road, red lights on vehicle Photo / Peter Van Allen Severe flooding, road washouts and prolonged power outages during the Dec. 18 storm resulted in substantial losses.

President Joe Biden has approved a federal disaster declaration for Maine to help recovery efforts following the severe storm that hit the state in December.

The proclamation, issued Wednesday morning, makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford, and Somerset counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

“I thank President Biden for his approval of our request for a Major Disaster Declaration,” said Gov. Janet Mills. “The President’s approval unlocks federal relief funds that will help hard-hit Maine communities and families move forward from last month’s storm.

"My Administration will continue to do everything possible to help Maine recover from recent catastrophic weather events and to make our communities more resilient to the impacts of our changing climate.”

Federal storm recovery funds will also be available on a cost-sharing basis for state, tribal and local governments and some nonprofit organizations in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington counties.

Damage assessments continue in other areas, and additional counties may be designated for assistance after the assessments are completed. The funding doesn't cover the recent January storm.

The winter storm that hit Maine on Dec. 18 wreaked havoc with flooding, high winds, stormy seas and flooding. The central and western parts of the state experience the worst aftermath. More than 420,000 people were left without power. 

After the storm, Mills declared a state of emergency on Dec. 19 for 14 Maine counties. In her Jan. 16 letter, she wrote that the storm caused $20 million in public infrastructure damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also identified 13 properties that were destroyed and over 200 that suffered damage from the storm.

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