Malloy predicts every county but Hartford to get disaster declaration

Norwalk — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Saturday he thinks the Obama administration will declare most of Connecticut, with the exception of Hartford County, a major disaster area, opening the door to a variety of aid.

The governor was in Norwalk and Bridgeport Saturday with Lieut. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, and U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills to visit storm-wrecked businesses.

Malloy toured areas of the state hit by Hurricane Sandy Thursday with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

He said Saturday he felt confident she would expand the areas the federal government has already declared major disasters areas — the four coastal counties of New London, New Haven, Fairfield and Middlesex — to all counties except Hartford County.

“And we may be close on Hartford County as well,” Malloy said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is under the umbrella of Napolitano’s HHS, makes recommendations for disaster area declarations based on monetary damages.

Mills urged businesses and homeowners who suffered losses, even if those losses are insured, to apply for low-interest loans from her agency.

When an insurer pays a claim, the borrower could pay down the loan, Mills said.

Businesses can borrow up to $2 million in disaster loans from the SBA, and individuals can borrow up to $200,000.

Borrowers do not have to have collateral, but they must apply for federal flood insurance.

FEMA, which opened disaster recovery centers in Bridgeport and Greenwich, announced it will open three additional ones, in New Haven, Old Saybrook and Groton, where those eligible for federal aid can apply in person.

FEMA also said 2,400 people have registered for federal help in Connecticut, and $368,000 in aid money has been approved.

In New Jersey, more than 49,000 have registered; more than $31 million has been spent. In New York, more than 69,000 people have registered for federal help, at a cost of about $75 million.