'Major Disaster' Declaration Unlocks Millions in Federal Flood Aid for Vermont | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


'Major Disaster' Declaration Unlocks Millions in Federal Flood Aid for Vermont


Published July 14, 2023 at 2:13 p.m.
Updated July 26, 2023 at 2:04 p.m.

Flooded street in Montpelier - KEVIN MCCALLUM ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Kevin McCallum ©️ Seven Days
  • Flooded street in Montpelier
The federal government issued a major disaster declaration for Vermont following widespread floods, making available more resources to aid the state's recovery.

The designation, requested by Gov. Phil Scott this week, allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to distribute funds for infrastructure repairs and to individuals who have been affected.

State officials want to make federal relief funds "as easy as possible" to access, Gov. Phil Scott said at a press conference on Friday.

Federal regulations allow those affected by the floods to apply for up to $41,000 in housing aid and another $41,000 for other needs. Officials encouraged residents to document their damage and begin cleanup work immediately. Information and aid applications can be accessed at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

It's too early to estimate the cost of flood damage across the state, Scott said. Following the 2011 floods caused by Tropical Storm Irene, FEMA spent more than $208 million on public infrastructure in Vermont and provided more than $23 million to 3,600 residents, mostly for housing, according to federal data.

Nearly 200 FEMA officials have been deployed to the state in recent days, state Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison said.

A 63-year-old Barre man, Stephen Davoll, drowned Wednesday in his flood-damaged home, state officials said. His is the first confirmed flood-related death.
Flooding in Montpelier - KEVIN MCCALLUM ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Kevin McCallum ©️ Seven Days
  • Flooding in Montpelier
The state avoided another round of serious flash flooding from a band of severe thunderstorms that passed through on Thursday evening. The storm briefly knocked out power for roughly 14,000 customers, mostly in Rutland and Addison counties. About 3,500 customers still didn't have electricity as of Friday morning, Morrison said.

As recovery efforts have ramped up, the number of people staying at state-coordinated emergency shelters has dropped to 68, about half of whom are staying at the Barre Municipal Auditorium. State crews and contractors have reestablished access to scores of damaged roadways, but stretches of 19 state roads remain closed, Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn said.

Some communities remain under boil-water notices due to contamination concerns.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine urged people to wear protective gear while cleaning up homes and businesses damaged by floodwaters.

"Time to get out, again, the N95 masks and gloves," he said. 

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