While the city of New Haven is recovering quickly from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, relief efforts in other parts of Connecticut have faced severe property damage and isolated incidents of fraudulent recovery programs.
A City Hall statement released Monday estimated the collective costs of storm preparation, response and clean-up would reach approximately $1.3 million in New Haven, in addition to approximately $1.58 million worth of damage to six public schools. The city kept an emergency operations center open throughout the storm, which residents were able to call with questions related to storm damage and services, City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton ’04 said. Ninety-nine percent of New Haven had power restored by Wednesday, according to local utility United Illuminating Company.
“New Haven didn’t register the worst of the storm damage. There were homes that were damaged, but not that severely,” Benton said. “We just didn’t sustain the type of damage that we saw in Irene or that other municipalities saw.”
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. voiced similar optimism, adding that the “vast majority” of storm-related expenses and damages will be eligible for FEMA reimbursement.
Concurrently, Connecticut is continuing extensive relief efforts, opening more FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers and expanding propane distribution, according to Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office. On Nov. 1, Malloy announced that Connecticut homeowners would not face higher-cost hurricane deductibles resulting from the impact of the storm and that the U.S. Department of Transportation had approved the state’s request for an immediate $2 million in emergency funding for infrastructure repairs.
Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein also warned Connecticut residents to be wary of latent scams, particularly ones in which scammers offer to help individuals obtain disaster assistance from FEMA in Sandy’s aftermath. The governor also advised homeowners to use licensed, local contractors when seeking home repairs, pressing state residents to ask contractors for references to ensure their legitimacy and providing tips to help prevent FEMA-related fraud.
“Consumers should take necessary precautions to protect themselves, both personally and financially, and should immediately report any instances of potential fraud,” Jepsen said.
Preliminary estimates of Sandy-related damages and business interruptions surpass $50 billion, which would make the storm the second-costliest Atlantic hurricane in history, behind only Hurricane Katrina.