In the News

Chester County to get federal disaster aid as residents continue cleanup from Ida

Originally Posted in the Daily Local. 

President Joe Biden has approved Gov. Tom Wolf’s request to declare a major disaster in Pennsylvania after the remnants of Hurricane Ida moved through the state. The move allows assistance to individuals financially impacted by the storm in Chester County.

The announcement follows the directive to FEMA by Biden to make federal funding available to affected individuals in selected Pennsylvania counties, including Chester County.

“This Major Disaster Declaration is such welcome news for Chester County, and especially for our residents who are already physically and emotionally exhausted because of the ravages of Ida,” said Chester County’s Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz. “The federal funding will help our community to rebuild and restore the areas of our county that have been hit and can be done in a way that helps those areas to be more resistant to severe weather events.”

Downingtown, Coatesville and Oxford were hit particularly hard by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, dumping as much as a foot of rain in some areas in a very short time span. The storm even spawned a confirmed tornado in Oxford.

Said Wolf in a statement: “This storm brought historic rainfall and flooding, as well as rare tornadoes, devastating many communities.”

FEMA assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals recover from the effects of Hurricane Ida.

“I’ve seen firsthand the destruction that Hurricane Ida brought to our community, and this declaration is what our families and businesses need to begin rebuilding,” said U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan. “I’m thankful for the first responders and emergency management personnel who have worked tirelessly over the past week to help those affected and document damage so that we could make a case for this declaration. I continue to call on FEMA to make available Federal funding that will help our towns rebuild public infrastructure like roads and bridges, in addition to the direct assistance for individuals announced yesterday.”

According to Wolf Administration officials, damage to public infrastructure to date is currently estimated at $117 million which exceeds the commonwealth’s threshold of $19.7 million.

“From the moment the impact of Hurricane Ida was realized, our emergency officials began working with PEMA and the municipalities most affected, to compile all of the damage information needed for federal support,” Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell said, “This past week their actions have been focused on two things – to provide the immediate help needed by the hurricane victims that our own county services can meet, while preparing every report required to prove to FEMA that aid must come our way.

Chester County residents who have sustained damages caused by Hurricane Ida can begin the application process with FEMA by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY for the hearing and speech impaired.

In-person registration can also take place at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Chester County will announce the location of the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in the coming days. Those who visit the DRC can apply in person for assistance, find out more about FEMA and other disaster assistance programs, and ask questions related to their individual circumstances.

Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline said, “It is vitally important that everyone who has sustained damage is able to access funding to restore their homes, replace vehicles and other necessary items, and to move on from this disaster.

“The FEMA assistance will help to achieve this, but alongside the federal aid, our Chester County staff from human services, community development, health, and emergency services will remain dedicated to serving everyone who needs help because of Hurricane Ida.”

For all current and future information related to Hurricane Ida support and recovery in Chester County, go to