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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2004

With Storms Wreaking Major Damage, Schumer Urges State To Request Disaster Assistance For Orange, Sullivan, Ulster Counties

Last week, counties were hit by a series of strong storms, causing significant damage to infrastructure like roads and bridges; Private property damage and serious impediments for local entities to respond to emergencies also cited

Schumer pushes State to request that FEMA declare Orange, Sullivan, Ulster counties disaster areas, the first step needed to qualify the area for millions in

In the wake of last week's unusually strong storms and subsequent flooding, US Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged Governor George Pataki to request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declare a disaster in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties, those most affected by the storms. In order for counties to receive federal help, the Governor must first request the 'disaster area' label from FEMA.

"You can't prevent natural disasters from happening, but we can help victims recover from them," Schumer said. "Roads, bridges, and private property were severely damaged in the Hudson Valley and the State and the feds should both be chipping in to deal with this disaster."

Intense rainstorms ripped though Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties last week. Considerable damage was wreaked on infrastructure such as roads, bridges and other facilities as well as on private property. Sullivan County officials estimate $3 million in damage just to the road surface of Pine Kill Road alone. According to published reports, some residents were left stranded. In addition, the state Health Department urged residents of impacted areas not to consume water from their homes until it is tested.

Schumer today urged the State of New York to make a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance, saying that doing so is a prerequisite for obtaining federal funds. Schumer said that among the categories of aid that could be available to Hudson Valley residents, municipalities, and businesses are public assistance to reimburse communities for debris removal, the costs of emergency response efforts, restoration of public infrastructure; individual assistance for citizens who suffered losses; the implementation of FEMA’s hazard mitigation program; and disaster unemployment insurance.

"I am writing today to urge you to request FEMA assistance for Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties in the Hudson Valley," Schumer wrote in a letter to Governor Pataki.

"Earlier this week, these counties experienced a series of strong storms, which have caused significant damage to New York State’s infrastructure - including roads, bridges and other facilities. Private property damage and serious impediments for local entities to respond to emergencies, have also been experienced as a result of heavy rains and flooding. Should you make such a request, I will support it with all due speed and without hesitation."

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