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Maryland officials appealing denial of Sandy aid on lower Eastern Shore

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Maryland officials are vowing to appeal a decision by the Obama administration to deny individual disaster aid for hundreds of lower Eastern Shore residents who suffered damage during Superstorm Sandy.

The federal government issued a disaster declaration for Maryland that provides help in repairing public property. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency informed state officials this week that the storm did not cause enough damage to grant aid through programs that help individuals who lost homes or businesses in Dorchester, Somerset and Worcester counties.

“This decision will make it more difficult for hard-hit residents of the Eastern Shore to recover from the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said in a statement Tuesday night. “State agencies will continue to work with local officials to try to help local residents, but the federal programs would have provided the best assistance.”

State emergency management officials said they have 30 days to appeal the decision and would provide updated information in an effort to help those hurt by the storm, which made landfall Oct. 29, near Atlantic City, N.J.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) also is promising to press the state’s case Wednesday morning in a hearing on Capitol Hill where FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is scheduled to testify.

“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.”

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