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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2004

Schumer Announces Federal Assistance Headed To 14 New Upstate Counties That Had Previously Been Denied Full Storm Damage Assistance

After Hurricane Francis' storms wreaked significant damage, FEMA announced some aid for upstate New York but left out Individual Assistance to several Upstate counties

Last month, Schumer pushed the White House to consider New York State's appeal for additional disaster assistance because the funds allocated by FEMA did not cover all aspects of damage

Schumer announces today

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that federal officials have notified him that Individual Disaster Assistance will be sent to Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Orleans, Steuben, Sullivan, Ulster, and Wayne counties to help them recover from the severe damage caused by Hurricane Francis' storms. Last month, Schumer pushed the White House to review the counties' damage totals they submitted because the funds allocated did not cover all aspects of their damage.

"You can't prevent natural disasters from happening, but we can help victims recover from them," Schumer said. "This is important federal assistance that's needed to help a number of counties get back on their feet and I'm glad the Feds changed their mind and will help our residents recover from this season's rains and flooding. It is our job to help local areas in their times of need and I can tell you first-hand that this is definitely a time of need."

Intense rainstorms ripped across the state in August and September. Considerable damage was wreaked on homes, businesses and infrastructure such as roads, bridges and other facilities. In the week immediately following the storms, Schumer urged the State of New York to make a request to the federal government for disaster assistance for property and infrastructure, because doing so is a prerequisite for obtaining federal funds.

FEMA then announced some assistance for Upstate New York after the State made their request, but it was not enough. Schumer then pushed the White House to reconsider the amount sent to New York and to send additional disaster assistance. The 14 counties included in today's allocation re-assessed their damage totals last month and appealed to the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) who sent these more accurate assessments on to FEMA. Schumer today announced that the counties will now receive Individual Assistance which compensates owners of private property such as residents and business owners.

FEMA provides money and services to people in the declared area whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance. After the disaster area is declared, the State conducts Applicant Briefings for State and local officials so they can inform residents of the assistance available and how to apply for it. If a county is approved for Individual Assistance, residents in that area must call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA/Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TTD) 1-800-462-7585 to register within 60 days of the disaster declaration in order to qualify for aid.

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