Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote President Trump on Friday asking him to reverse his decision to deny federal disaster relief to the state following Tropical Storm Isaias, which hit the region in August.
The federal government denied Gov. Larry Hogan’s request for aid on Oct. 14, and the governor has since appealed the decision.
“This request never should have been rejected.... This is exactly what these federal programs are designed to do,” said Sen. Ben Cardin in a statement.
On August 3 and 4, Tropical Storm Isaias spawned tornadoes, dumped nine inches of rain, caused roadways and bridges to be washed out and killed one person. About 75,000 people lost power during the storm, which had 72 mph winds.
The worst hit areas were Dorchester County on the Eastern Shore and Calvert and St. Mary’s counties in Southern Maryland, but other areas of the state had damage as well. In all, the state suffered an estimated $17 million in damages.
“Isaias spawned nearly a dozen tornadoes across the state, causing significant damage to public infrastructure and private property. Recovery efforts will include debris removal, as well as permanent work to repair infrastructure damaged by flooding and wind,” wrote the delegation.
The letter said that the pandemic had slowed down the damage assessment process by making it more difficult to inspect properties in person and catalog the damage. The result, the delegation said, was a reduction in the damage that could be verified by FEMA.
“Our local governments are already strapped for cash as they deal with COVID-19,” Cardin said.