Formal aid request made

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PORTLAND (AP) – Crews from the Federal Emergency Management Agency began assessing flood damage in York County on Friday as Gov. John Baldacci sent a request to President Bush asking for a formal disaster declaration.

Four two-person teams from FEMA were expected to continue working through the weekend assessing damage caused by the relentless rains and floods. Two of the teams were assessing damage to public property such as roads and bridges, while the other two teams were focusing on damage to private properties.

Towns and water and sewer districts so far have reported $7.4 million in damages to public infrastructure, said Bruce Fitzgerald, spokesman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency. Wells has sustained the most damage, at $2.4 million. York and Ogunquit each reported damages totaling $1.3 million.

The reports don’t include damage to private property, such as homes and businesses.

In his letter to the president, Baldacci said the storms damaged more than 1,000 homes and caused thousands of gallons of partially treated sewage to be flushed directly through a treatment plant because of overwhelming rainfall.

A large number of businesses that had just stocked up for the summer tourist season were flooded, and shellfish beds were closed, he said.

“The immediate needs of the residents and businesses require an expedited response,” Baldacci wrote.

Baldacci, along with U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, Small Business Administration Regional Administrator Charlie Summers and other officials toured flood-damaged areas of York County on Friday to get a firsthand look at the recovery.

Their tour came as more rain arrived in southern Maine. An inch or so was expected through the day, with heavier amounts in localized areas, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Hayes.

Several days of heavy rains that ended earlier this week dropped more than a foot of rain in some spots of York County, and caused flooding and widespread damage across southern Maine, New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts.

AP-ES-05-19-06 1214EDT


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