FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2005
In Wake Of Flooding, Schumer Calls On Pataki To Help Dutchess, Ulster And Orange Counties Get Federal Disaster Relief Assistance
Cleanup After Floods Will Cost Counties Millions Of Dollars
Schumer Pushes State To Declare Disaster, The First Step Needed To Qualify The Area For Federal Disaster Relief
Today, in the wake of last week’s sever flooding in Dutchess, Ulster and Orange Counties, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged Governor George Pataki to formally ask FEMA for emergency assistance to help them recover from the rainstorms. There were heavy rainstorms of this past week, and Dutchess, Ulster and Orange Counties have sustained serious damage to homes and public infrastructure.
“Times have been hard enough for the local governments in the Hudson Valley,” Schumer said. “And now these communities are going to face extensive repair costs once they assess the damages from last week’s storms and without disaster relief help from state and federal government it’s going to be much tougher to fix all of the damage. No one can account for natural disasters, and these local governments deserve help. When you talk with people affected by this storm, it becomes obvious very quickly that the State and the Feds should both be chipping in to deal with this disaster.”
The region was slammed by a severe weather system last week, and according to the National Weather Service, over a foot of rain fell over an eight-day period throughout the state. As floodwater rose, inundated drainage systems caused sewage to overflow. The Town of Lloyd’s sewage treatment facility estimates that it has incurred up to $10,000 worth of damages to its treatment plant. Storm runoff damaged homes and forced the temporary closure roads in the towns of Montgomery, Warwick, Hamptonburgh, Union Vale, Amenia, Dover Plains, Washington and others in the region. The Wallkill Bridge was closed due to high waters of the Walkill River. The Black Dirt region farms in Orange County have reported devastating flooding as well. Since much of the water is still receding, many municipalities have not yet begun to assess their damage totals. When the flooding subsides, these mid-Hudson Valley counties are sure to face extensive repair and restoration costs for repairs to their homes, roads and infrastructure damaged in these rainstorms.
In a letter to Pataki Schumer wrote “As the storm clouds dissipate and the sun begins to break through, I hope you will quickly conduct PDAs and declare a State of Emergency in these counties so that we can move forward together in seeking federal assistance for these communities. Without FEMA’s help, the ability of these local governments to deliver the essential services their citizens depend on could be greatly diminished.”
Schumer urged the State to declare the region a disaster area, saying that doing so is a prerequisite for obtaining FEMA funds. Once the State has declared the area a disaster, and submitted an application for federal funds, FEMA will determine if the area is eligible for funds and how much relief it will get.