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State And Federal Officials Helping Victims Recover From Storm Damage

Connecticut has been declared a distaster area

After touring parts of Connecticut damaged  by Tropical Storm Irene, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the state will be getting federal help in its recovery efforts.

The two toured storm damage in East Haven and then participated in conference call at the emergency operations center in the state armory. They with members of Connecticut congressional delegation heard an update from FEMA officials.

“I’m very pleased that the secretary joined us today,” Malloy said Sunday afternoon during the press conference at the EOC. “I’m also very pleased that President Obama was able to receive the documentation he received from the state of Connecticut through FEMA and was able to declare an emergency declaration as easy as he did for all eight counties on multiple fronts. This means federal assistance will be available to the people of Connecticut that might not otherwise have access to thiose capabilities.”

That was carried out in part because of the conversations that Malloy said he had with Napolitano within the last week and the efforts of the congressional delegation, he said.

The Connecticut federal delegation was second to none in its advocacy for the state and kept in constant contact with her office, Napolitano said.

Napolitano said when Irene was being tracked early on it was difficult to know what impact it would have, they only knew it was a big storm that would land on North Carolina and then travel up the coast.

"We are not leaving," Napolitano said. "The national media may have left and moved on to something else. The storm may in fact be over, but the damages are here and we want to recover and rebuild. During this recovery phase, we will be here. FEMA is not leaving."

There will be a FEMA center in Hartford and multiple centers around the state to respond to people and get the help they need, Malloy said.

Earlier Monday, CL&P had 2,000 customers still without power and expected that number to fall to about 200 by midnight, Malloy said. United Illuminating had about 325 outages, he added.

Rentschler Field and the UTC commodities distribution center will be closed on Tuesday, Malloy said. The state will be able to help municipalities that need it.

While it has been opened, 230,796 Meals Ready to Eat; 907,510 bottles of water; and 17 pallets of ice were distributed, Malloy said.

Malloy said he will be announcing a plan for the comprehensive review of the performance and criteria involved in emergency operations and response, including the power companies, during the storm. The utility companies have been informed the review is upcoming. He said he will be appointing several administration members to the panel who will do the review.

“All such findings will be made public,” Malloy said.

Napolitano said the federal government and the state worked well in preparing for and reacting to the storm, which has aided recovery efforts.

FEMA will remain in Connecticut to help people and business recover from the impact of Tropical Storm Irene.

Napolitano said those who suffered damage from the storm should register at www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA. She said that is the only way FEMA can know who needs help.

Peter Boynton, commissioner of the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said FEMA will have disaster centers set up in every county in the state. It is important people contact FEMA, he said.

Boynton said the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee are expected to have a bigger impact in areas west of Connecticut such as Pennsylvania. Connecticut should see either two to three inches or three to five inches of rain, he said.

“That will be watched very carefully,” Boynton said.

The other storm gathering in the Caribbean is tracking out to sea and presents no danger to Connecticut at this time, he said.

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