ANNAPOLIS, Md., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Maryland will appeal a finding that the state was not hit hard enough by superstorm Sandy to qualify for federal disaster aid, the state administration says.
Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Tuesday the decision was based on the number of people who lost homes or businesses, The Baltimore Sun reported. Losses to Sandy are estimated at about $27 million in Maryland, mostly on the Eastern Shore, although the storm also brought heavy snow in the mountains in the western part of the state.
"It is not based upon the trauma to the individual," Fugate said. "You know, our hearts go out to them."
Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement the ruling will make it more difficult for storm victims to recover, Southern Maryland Online reported Wednesday.
Maryland Emergency Management Agency officials said they would appeal, the news website said. The state has a month to do so.
Sandy, hundreds of miles across by the time it hit the Jersey Shore, did billions of dollars in damage in New Jersey and New York.
The most heavily hit Maryland town was Crisfield, a fishing community of about 2,700 near the Virginia state line. Noah Bradshaw, Crisfield's housing inspector, said much of the damage there is hidden, with houses inundated by water and mud in the storm now harboring mold.
Maryland was notified of the federal decision late Monday and has 30 days to appeal, something O'Malley has promised to do. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., is lobbying for federal aid.
"The damage is devastating," Mikulski said in a statement. "I'm so disappointed FEMA denied these hardworking, patriotic Americans the help they need to get back into their homes and on their feet."