MONTPELIER – Just hours after Gov. Peter Shumlin requested a major disaster declaration from President Barack Obama for assistance in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, the White House late today announced approval of the aid – public assistance to help with infrastructure repairs in all Vermont counties except Grand Isle, and individual assistance for homeowners and businesses in counties where early assessments have been completed. Because assessments continue in some counties – particularly in hard-hit southern Vermont – a supplemental request will follow to add those areas, as well.
The public assistance request encompasses road, bridge and rail damage in Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties. The initial individual declaration includes Chittenden, Washington, Rutland, and Windsor counties. It is expected that a supplemental request will add other counties, such as Windham and Orange as assessors continue to tally the damage across Vermont left in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Those additional requests will be added as quickly as possible.
The state had previously received an Emergency Declaration for Federal Assistance, which provided immediate assistance to begin getting disaster relief efforts in place. Today’s approval launches a more formal process of securing full assistance for roads, bridges, homeowners and businesses, and other relief work.
The public assistance will provide a federal match for work on roads, bridges and other public infrastructure damaged in the flooding and winds of Irene. The individual assistance will help homeowners and businesses cover the costs of repairs, temporary housing, rentals, replacement of essential household items, medical and other disaster-related needs, and other needs that resulted from the storm.