April 25th, 2007 05:49 EST
New England Nor'easter Damage Assessments Nearly Complete
BOSTON, Mass. - In less than one week, preliminary damage assessment (PDA) teams have nearly completed damage surveys in all six New England states struck by the strong winds, heavy rains and storm surge of Patriots' Day Nor'easter. Officials from Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have teamed up with state and local emergency management officials to assess damages in every county in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, and 13 counties in Maine and four counties in Vermont.
"We've been on the ground with our state and local partners throughout New England assessing damages to homes and public facilities as quickly and as efficiently as possible," said Art Cleaves, FEMA Regional Administrator in Boston. "If a determination is made that federal assistance is warranted, the recovery process can quickly get underway."
The governors of the six New England states requested federal participation in preliminary damage assessments as a first step in seeking federal disaster assistance. During an assessment, the joint teams tour storm-affected areas and review damage to homes, impact on roads and critical facilities, the level of insurance coverage held by homeowners and public facilities, and assistance available from other sources.
So far, the teams have completed the requested damage assessments in New Hampshire and Vermont, with teams finalizing surveys in Maine by Wednesday. The teams in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island will complete their work within the next few days.
The information gathered from the damage assessments is used by a governor to determine if the damages are beyond state and local capabilities. The swift completion of the assessments will help speed assistance if federal aid is requested by the governor and the damages warrant a disaster declaration by President Bush.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.