12/09/2012 09:49 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

FEMA's Maryland Superstorm Sandy Decision To Deny Aid Will Be Appealed, Officials Say

Getty Images

State and local officials have returned to the Eastern Shore communities ravaged by superstorm Sandy's heavy rains and high winds to comb over the damage in hopes of appealing federal officials' decision to deny aid to Maryland.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency declined the state's request for funds for individual residents because the damage was not considered substantial enough. But U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration and other state leaders vowed this week to appeal the decision, citing extensive damage to the area, where more than 300 homes are estimated to have been severely damaged.

Workers and volunteer teams have been deployed to the Eastern Shore to make sure the extent of the damage is surveyed. State and local officials are also encouraging residents in those areas to report damages.

Robert J. Frances, director of the Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits, said employees from his department and the county Fire Department have traveled to Somerset County to inspect homes and businesses to get a fuller picture of the destruction.

"Water has a lot of force with it that can do a whole lot of damage," he said.

One major concern officials in Crisfield have noted is mold in buildings after waters rushed in from the streets and lingered.

While some structures might not appear severely harmed by the storm, Frances said, the force of flood waters can cause many problems, including rushing waters shifting walls and moving buildings off their foundations. He said inspectors must also look at effects on HVAC units, electrical equipment, drywall and other areas.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said he felt is was important to provide assistance to the Eastern Shore communities. "We cannot forget those impacted by Hurricane Sandy," he said in a statement.

The October storm caused more than $27 million of damage in Maryland and destroyed communities in parts of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut after making landfall near Atlantic City, N.J.

Maryland officials have 30 days to appeal FEMA's decision.

"We understand the collective damage issue," Cardin said this week. "But if you live in Crisfield, Maryland, you are suffering as badly as any part of any community in this storm, with homes that are not habitable."

State leaders said the area should receive federal aid given the extent of damage and the poverty that afflicts the areas hardest hit.

The state has received federal funding for damages to public facilities and for hazard mitigation, but those funds do not cover individual losses.

Residents of Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties with damage to report are asked to call the Maryland Department of Human Resources Relief Hotline for Sandy at 888-756-7836.

jkanderson@baltsun.com ___



Hurricane Sandy