Reed: Properties suffering losses from storms should report damage


This still shot from a drone video captured Saturday by Dave Bento shows Beavertail Road at Mackerel Cove flooded for the third time in four weeks. The road was blocked to traffic during all three storms.

This still shot from a drone video captured Saturday by Dave Bento shows Beavertail Road at Mackerel Cove flooded for the third time in four weeks. The road was blocked to traffic during all three storms.

Business owners and homeowners in Jamestown whose properties were damaged in any of the three storms from Dec. 17 through Jan. 14 are being asked to report their losses through the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.

The homepage of the agency’s website has assessment forms to detail damage done from Dec. 17-19, Jan. 9-11 and Jan. 12-14. All three storms prompted closures to Beavertail Road at Mackerel Cove with additional detours at the Great Creek and the Conanicus Avenue seawall.

According to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Jamestown resident, reporting damage is not an application for financial assistance. The information, however, can help the state of Rhode Island document the full extent of the storms as it explores options for declaring an emergency and applying for federal aid. Although documenting damages also is important for insurance claims, reporting losses does not replace these claims.

“I am committed to helping residents, businesses, and communities recover,” Reed said. “I urge anyone who experienced flood damage to document it and report it to their local emergency management officials and I will continue working to deliver the maximum amount of federal funding for recovery and resilience efforts.”

Reed toured Rhode Island to assess the damage Friday two days after he wrote a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to “expeditiously approve any request from the state of Rhode Island for an emergency or disaster declaration under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.”

In addition to that request, Reed is working to deliver mitigation assistance to prepare for floods made worse by climate change and prevent future catastrophes. He helped include $12 billion for flood mitigation in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law, which passed in 2021.

The National Flood Insurance Program, however, is set to expire Feb. 2. He is urging Congress to reauthorize it. In 2023, Reed voted to avert a federal shutdown and provide an additional $16 billion to replenish the Disaster Relief Fund administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is used to respond to presidentially declared emergencies and disasters.

“We’re still assessing the damage, but it’s clear flood victims are hurting and we need to help them recover,” Reed said. “At the federal level, I’ve repeatedly stressed the need to expedite disaster relief funding to those in need and ensure the state has what it needs for disaster recovery. … When things get tough, Rhode Islanders support each other and we must continue to do that. And the federal government needs to do its part.”