Rell Asks Obama Again for Help for Low-Income Tornado Victims

Gov. M. Jodi Rell is again asking President Barack Obama for financial aid the federal government denied Bridgeport and Stratford, which were hit by a June tornado.

While Fairfield County has a reputation for multimillionaires and large, expensive homes, the area hardest hit hardly meets that description.

“These are citizens who must choose between feeding their children and fixing a roof,” Rell wrote. In some cases, the Bridgeport Emergency Management Director has learned, people are afraid to describe the extent of damage, because they do not want to be put out of their homes.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state’s request for individual and public assistance last week and Rell filed the appeal on Friday.

Of the people in Bridgeport affected by the violent June 24 storm, 86 percent who sought disaster assistance were low income and 17 percent had no insurance, Rell said in her letter to the president.

The letter comes the day after Obama was in the tony section of Fairfield County and helped U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal raise money for his Senate campaign. Greenwich Time puts fundraising estimates at about $1.4 million.

Rell is looking for aid for Bridgeport and Stratford, where a tornado on June 24 caused more than $3 million in damages.

FEMA denied the state's request, ruling the damages weren't beyond what the state was capable of handling.

In Stratford, debris removal costs were not factored in to previous estimates because the costs did not yet exist.

In the letter Rell sent to Obama on Friday, Rell said that she is providing FEMA with additional information not included in an initial state request, which was turned down by the federal agency last week.

The cost even for damage classified as minor, like a hole in siding or a leaking light fixture, is monumental for the families affected, she wrote.

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