President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration that is expected to make federal funding available for storm recovery efforts in Maine counties hit hard by a December storm that unleashed major flooding and extensive power outages.

Biden approved the state of Maine’s request for a major disaster declaration for storm damage between Dec. 17 and 21 that affected communities across central and western Maine.

The approval is expected to help cover the cost of public infrastructure repairs in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington counties, according to an announcement Wednesday from Gov. Janet Mills.

Biden also approved Mills’ request to make direct assistance available to eligible individuals and families that experienced severe property damage in Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford and Somerset counties, according to Mills.

Public infrastructure damage in Kennebec County did not meet the threshold for damage to be deemed part of the disaster area, according to Vanessa Corson, public information officer for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, or MEMA.

Kennebec County did meet the threshold for damage to individual property. Corson said if the county can produce enough documentation of damage to public infrastructure within 30 days, which would need to be validated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, it could be added to the declaration for public assistance.


Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, according to an announcement from FEMA.

The December storm unleashed historic flooding along the Kennebec River and elsewhere, inundating several communities and knocking out power to more than 350,000 people.

Individuals and business owners who sustained a loss in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance by registering online at, by calling 1-800-621-3362 or by using the FEMA App at

Mills said FEMA will partner with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies to establish disaster recovery centers in impacted areas. The centers are expected to be in or near affected communities and offer services to help people learn about disaster assistance programs, apply for disaster assistance, check the status of FEMA applications, understand FEMA notices or letters, meet with Small Business Administration agents and get referrals to other agencies for services.

The locations of the centers are still being finalized, according to officials.

FEMA dispatched federal officials to Maine to conduct a preliminary damage assessment to evaluate the December storm’s impact. FEMA officials estimated the storm caused more than $20 million in damage to public infrastructure.

Biden’s proclamation is limited to the December storm and its aftermath, and does not cover the back-to-back weather events of Jan. 10 and 13 that caused major flooding on the coast of Maine.

MEMA officials have begun the process of seeking a major disaster declaration for those weather events.

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