Washington – Correcting what Connecticut lawmakers called “a serious oversight,” the Obama administration has included New Haven County in a disaster declaration that opened the door to millions of dollars in federal aid to towns hardest hit by January’s massive snowstorm.

Communities in New Haven, New London, Tolland and Windham counties suffered at least $6.6 million in damages and costs from January’s devastating blizzard, said Scott DeVico, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Last month, President Obama declared New London, Tolland and Windham counties federal disaster areas, eligible for relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But although Gov. Dannel Malloy also asked for help for New Haven County, it was left off the disaster declaration.

“Following the president’s declaration last month, we were thankful that the federal government recognized the need for relief in Connecticut — but the omission of New Haven was a serious oversight,” Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, said in a joint statement. “That’s why we have fought so hard to ensure all the hard-hit communities in our state get the resources they need.”

DeVico said the state gave FEMA additional information on damage in New Haven County.

“We (worked) some numbers with FEMA, and we were successful,” he said.

“This declaration, coupled with the earlier approval of New London, Tolland, and Windham counties, will provide much-needed financial assistance to the state and to the municipalities hardest hit by the January blizzard,”  Malloy said.

The storm that walloped Connecticut on Jan. 26 left some municipalities with as much as 33 inches of snow.

Now that FEMA has declared the four counties federal disaster areas, local governments will be able to apply for reimbursement of 75 percent of the costs of snow removal, damage to public roads and facilities, and other storm-related expenses.

The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations in Connecticut also are eligible to apply for assistance.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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