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President Biden declares Vermont’s December floods a major disaster, grants access to federal aid

A road crew truck that reads "town of Jamaica" works on a damaged road after the December floods.
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Vermont Public
The Jamaica road crew works on Goodaleville Road on Dec. 19, 2023. Three people in Jamaica, which is in Windham County, had to be rescued from their home amid rising floodwaters.

President Joe Biden on Saturday declared a mid-December storm that flooded parts of Vermont as a major disaster.

The state is now set to receive federal assistance to aid in recovery efforts in the areas affected by the extreme weather on December 18 and 19.

Counties eligible for federal funding include Essex, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Windham and Windsor. They will be able to reimburse 75% of eligible recovery costs through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program.

Last month, Gov. Phil Scott sent a request to the White House asking for help with the hardest hit counties, as well as Hazard Mitigation Assistance to be used statewide. The letter detailed evacuations and school closures, swift water rescues and extensive flood damage to roads and structures across the state.

According to a December damage assessment, the flooding caused $1.9 million in damage to public infrastructure, but the Scott administration said the final cost will likely be higher.

More from Vermont Public: Here's where the December 2023 river flooding, rainfall hit hardest in Vermont

“I appreciate the Federal government’s quick response to the flooding disasters we’ve faced over the last several months. Between the July, August and December flooding, we have a long road ahead and my team will continue to do all we can to help with recovery, and support mitigation that will better secure communities in the future,” Gov. Scott said in a press release Monday.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and approved following further damage assessments.

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Zoe McDonald is a digital producer in Vermont Public’s newsroom. Previously, she served as the multimedia news producer for WBHM, central Alabama’s local public radio station. Before she discovered her love for public media, she created content for brands like Insider, Southern Living and Health. She graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi in 2017. Zoe enjoys reading, drinking tea, trying new recipes and hiking with her dog.
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