Having spent much of the last couple of days touring the hardest hit areas of our state and speaking with residents most affected by Hurricane Sandy, it is clear that our road to recovery will take longer in some areas than others. As always, though, Rhode Islanders will rally, and we will get through this challenge together.
In Misquamicut and Charlestown, Matunuck and Narragansett, the most common refrain I hear from our hardworking residents is gratitude that no one was injured and optimism that we will quickly rebuild, from the Coast Guard House to Tara’s Tipperary Tavern on Matunuck Beach Road.
I understand the frustration of many Rhode Islanders who remain without electricity or are waiting for some other form of assistance. If you or someone you know has not regained electricity, please call National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. For other questions, the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency is partnering with United Way and can be reached at 2-1-1.
Further, the other members of the Congressional Delegation and I are in regular contact with National Grid, as well as with federal and state emergency management officials. Please reach out to my office with any concerns you have.
Most importantly, please continue to stay safe. If you live in an area with widespread power outages, check on your neighbors who are elderly or have health issues. And as state officials have cautioned, stay away from downed power lines and allow professionals to clear trees near them.
In addition, a limited number of water systems in South County have been impacted by Sandy and Cautionary Boiled Water Advisories have been issued by the State Department of Health for these areas.
We took the first step toward helping municipalities, businesses and individuals recover when President Obama, at our request, declared a state of emergency in Rhode Island, making federal disaster funds available to the state. Public assistance teams formed jointly by FEMA and the state are scheduled to evaluate damage beginning today, and they will initially be focused on South County, where the most destruction occurred.
I encourage those impacted by the storm to be in contact with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency by calling 2-1-1 and reporting the damage done to your property. FEMA is also reminding homeowners not to wait to contact your insurance company since any federal assistance that becomes available will require you to go through them first. Take pictures of your damage and save all receipts. For more information for homes and businesses, visit www.fema.gov.
In the coming days and weeks, our congressional delegation will be working as a team with state and federal leaders to ensure necessary resources are available. Please do not hesitate to call my office at 401-732-9400 with any questions you have during this process.