Severe Storm Prompts MEMA Assessment

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Town Manager Terence Delehanty and Fire Chief Paul Flanagan announce that the Town of Winthrop is working with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to assist those who have been hardest hit by the snow storm on January 4, and are asking residents and business owners to submit information about damages.

As a result of the severe winter storm that hit the Massachusetts, MEMA is conducting an Initial Damage Assessment to determine eligibility for federal disaster aid under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program, Individuals and Housing Assistance Program, and the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program.

Through these programs, assistance will only be available if the Commonwealth and each affected county meets certain cost and damage thresholds. In order to determine if these have been met, MEMA will be using the Initial Damage Assessment process to gather high-level cost and damage estimates from each community.

Residents should note that this is the first step in the damage assessment process and does not guarantee that federal disaster assistance will be provided. The results of Initial Damage Assessment will determine if a joint FEMA-State Preliminary Damage Assessment is warranted, where FEMA conducts site visits, confirms costs and provides data for Governor Charlie Baker to then make a formal declaration request to the President.

“We are encouraging the community to report damages to their homes and business from last week’s storm by filling out the assessment form,” Town Manager Delehanty said. “While this does not guarantee anything, it will begin the process of determining whether we will qualify for assistance.”

Residents or business owners who have damages to report should fill out a Private Damage Assessment Report Form, which can be found under the MEMA Forms section on the Town’s website, or by clicking here. These forms must be completed and returned to the Town Manager’s Office no later than Jan. 21 to allow enough time to compile the information and submit it to the state.

Anyone filling out a form should only complete sections applicable to them. Any sections that do not apply to you or your business should be left blank. Questions about this process should be directed to the Town Manager’s Office at 617-846-1705.

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