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Congressman Murphy blasts FEMA over slow response to Nor' easter storm

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Time: 7:24 PM

I'm sure everyone remembers the Nor-easter storm that ripped through the Danbury area on April 15th. I'm sure everyone remember the slow response from the Bush administration to terms of addressing the damage the storm did to the area or sending FEMA to Connecticut to offer assistance.

Here's a letter signed by the Connecticut Congressional delegation to the President asking for assistance.
May 1, 2007

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Through: Mr. Arthur Cleaves, Regional Director - FEMA Region I
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
99 High Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02110-2320

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to voice our strong support for Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell’s April 30, 2007 request that you declare a major disaster for the State of Connecticut as a result of a major nor’easter which produced heavy rain, frozen precipitation, high winds, and coastal, riverine and urban flooding beginning on April 15, 2007.

On the morning of Sunday, April 15, 2007, a major nor’easter engulfed the State of Connecticut causing flooding along the Farmington, Housatonic and Connecticut rivers for several days. Flood warnings were cancelled on the Farmington River on April 20, 2007 and on the Housatonic River on April 21, 2007. Flood warnings continued for the Connecticut River until Friday, April 27, 2007 - twelve (12) days after the storm.

On April 15, 2007, Governor Rell took all necessary steps under state law when she executed the State Emergency Plan, and ordered activation of the State Emergency Operations Center. Governor Rell urged all motorists to avoid driving on the morning of April 16, 2007 due to widespread flooding. In addition, on April 17, 2007 Governor Rell directed the State Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to solicit damage reports from State and local officials. Finally, on April 18, 2007 Governor Rell requested a Federal/State preliminary damage assessment (PDA) pursuant to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations.

The State of Connecticut’s preliminary damage assessment demonstrates statewide flooding resulted in damage to over 2,406 residential units and more than 179 businesses. Private sector losses are estimated at $31,215,550 and public sector damages are estimated at $11,978,231. These preliminary damage assessments confirm major impacts to residents, businesses, and State and local government units.

Governor Rell has determined that the April 15, 2007 major nor’easter is of such severity and magnitude that the financial costs exceed the State of Connecticut and affected local governments capabilities. Supplementary federal assistance is necessary to ensure continued appropriate cleanup and repair operations, and to ensure public safety. Pursuant to the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. Sections 5121-5206 (Stafford Act), we strongly urge immediate and favorable consideration of Governor Rell’s request for the following federal assistance: (1) Public Assistance for Fairfield, Litchfield, Hartford, and New Haven counties; (2) Individual Assistance which includes Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Small Business Administration disaster loans, and Farm Service Agency loans for Fairfield, Litchfield, Hartford, New Haven, and Middlesex counties; and (3) that the Hazard Mitigation Program be made available statewide.

We thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter.


Christopher J. Dodd
United States Senator

Joseph I. Lieberman
United States Senator

John B. Larson
Member of Congress

Joseph Courtney
Member of Congress

Rosa L. DeLauro
Member of Congress

Christopher Shays
Member of Congress

Christopher Murphy
Member of Congress

After a delay, FEMA finally came to Connecticut but not everyone on the Danbury area was happy with the response time and voiced their frustration with Congressman Murphy.

In turn, today, Congressman Murphy expressed his frustration with FEMA and demanded answers into why it took so long for FEMA to respond to Connecticut's needs.
Today, Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5) aggressively questioned Mr. R. David Paulison, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing about the agency's slow response to Connecticut in the aftermath of the mid-April storm that left significant damage behind.

"When that spring storm hit Connecticut, small towns didn't have the resources available to them to clean up the mess and quickly address property damage issues. FEMA dragged its feet in declaring a disaster," said Murphy.

After the storm, which began over the weekend of April 14 and 15, and continued into Monday, April 16, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that she would ask FEMA to declare portions of Connecticut a major disaster for businesses, homeowners, and municipalities. FEMA did not declare a disaster until May 11 for municipalities only; the agency did not extend that declaration for businesses and homeowners until June 14 - two months after the storm.

In response to Murphy's questioning about the delay in declaring a disaster in Connecticut, Mr. Paulison agreed that it took too long in this case, noting that it should take less than two weeks to make the determination.
In today's press conference, Congressman Murphy addressed his grilling of FEMA.

posted by ctblogger at 7:24 PM | Permalink|


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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.



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U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
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