WASHINGTON -- Today Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) called on Governor Mitt Romney to ask the federal government for a Physical Disaster declaration by the Small Business Administration in the counties devastated by the area’s worst flooding in 70 years. This step would allow the government to immediately begin providing the much-needed disaster loan assistance to residents and business owners

“My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has had to leave behind their home or business to get to safety,” said Kerry. “Massachusetts has rebuilt after devastating floods in the past, and we will do so again. No one who witnesses the horrifying devastation and contaminated water like I saw Monday in Peabody can argue that federal assistance isn’t needed. This is the worst flooding in our state I have ever seen. We must not let red tape and delay stand in the way of getting assistance into the hands of homeowners and businesses to rebuild immediately.”

A Major Disaster declaration by the President would automatically allow home and business owners to apply for disaster loans. However, if the President does not make that declaration, residents would only be eligible for a disaster loan if the SBA makes a Physical Disaster declaration under the following circumstances:

  • In any county where at least 25 homes, businesses or other institutions each sustain uninsured losses of 40 percent or more;
  • In any county where at least three businesses each sustain uninsured losses of 40 percent or more and, as a direct result, 25 percent or more of the work force would be unemployed for at least 90 days; and
  • The Governor of the state submits a written request to SBA for a physical disaster declaration by SBA within 60 days of the date of the disaster.

To read the letter Kerry sent to the Governor, please click here.