Haverhill and several other Essex County cities and towns with major flooding damage from the Aug. 8 storms were denied federal disaster relief coverage last Friday.
Mayor James J. Fiorentini, who shared the notice Thursday, and the City Council had declared a public emergency in the immediate aftermath of the storms in hopes of bolstering the city’s case for emergency financial assistance for public infrastructure, businesses and homeowners.
One hundred and seventy-two residents submitted private property damage claims forms totaling about $2.5 million and 21 businesses submitted claims totaling about $3.7 million. The city estimated its damages to public infrastructure at $2.4 million. Combined, claimed damages from the storm from Haverhill alone topped $8.5 million.
“After collecting and reviewing all submitted damage assessment data, MEMA has determined that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not meet the minimum criteria to pursue a federal major disaster declaration for the Aug. 8. Rainstorms,” read a notice to the city from Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Dawn Brantley.
Officials added, “The storms did not exceed the capability of both the state and local governments to respond, which is a prerequisite for a federal major disaster declaration.”
MEMA, however, informed the city that Essex County has met the U.S. Small Business Administration criteria for an Administrative Declaration, which will make both Physical Damage Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to individuals, households and businesses in Essex County. The governor’s request for an Administrative Declaration of a Disaster by the SBA was declared on Sept. 20.
Residents may apply for a disaster loan and learn more here. The application deadline for physical damage loans is Nov. 20, and the deadline for economic injury loans is June 20, 2024.