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Hundreds of Thousands of Homes in New York Suffered Significant Damage after Superstorm Sandy; Many Must Rebuild or Make Repairs

FEMA Must Release Advisory Base Flood Elevation Maps; Information Will Provide Updated Specifications for Rebuilding

Schumer Calls on Feds to Expedite the Release of Maps for Homeowners Who Need to Rebuild to Protect Against Future Storms


U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expeditiously release the new Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps for homeowners impacted by Superstorm Sandy and waiting to rebuild. Thousands and thousands of homes across New York City were significantly damaged after the storm and many homeowners are in desperate need of updated elevation requirements before they raise homes or rebuild new ones. FEMA has already released the maps for New Jersey, yet New York ABFE’s have not been released. Schumer is asking for FEMA to release the ABFE maps so that New Yorkers in Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Rockaway, Staten Island, Gerritsen Beach, as well as others, can finally make the necessary repairs to their storm wrecked homes.


“Thousands of homes were destroyed after Sandy and now, to top it off, homeowners are being forced to put their plans of rebuilding on hold because of FEMA’s delay in issuing its advisory base flood elevation maps,” said Schumer. “These maps are crucial because they provide important specifications that homeowners must comply with in order to rebuild in ways that will protect against future storms. FEMA should release the ABFE maps immediately so that homeowners can intelligently repair and rebuild.”


The ABFE maps provide information to more accurately reflect the true one-percent annual chance flood hazard elevations in a given area. The maps are provided to communities as a resource to support homeowners looking to rebuild in ways that are more resilient to future storms. Communities rely on the maps for FEMA recovery and mitigation activity.


The ABFE maps have already been released for counties in New Jersey, however, New York’s maps have not yet been released. FEMA originally planned to release the maps in late December, however, the agency has not yet provided an updated timeline on its release date.


Schumer today called on FEMA to immediately release the new ABFE maps so that New Yorkers, many of whose homes were destroyed after Sandy, can make plans to repair, rebuild or raise their homes based on the most up to date storm elevation data. Schumer explained that these maps are imperative for homeowners in need of repair because it gives them critical information about specifications they will be expected to comply with in and insight into how to repair and rebuild intelligently. Schumer made the case that it would be unwise to make these homeowners pay for expensive renovations that may not be in line with flood risks. Renovation and mitigation work should be guided by up to date flood risk data, which will be provided in FEMA’s ABFE.


A copy of Schumer’s letter can be found below:


Dear Administrator Fugate,

I am writing to urge FEMA to expedite the release of the new Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) Maps. Homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy need this pertinent information to move forward and make repairs, raise homes and in some communities build new homes. New York homeowners seeking to rebuild have waited too long for the release of these maps.

FEMA released ABFE maps for New Jersey in December, and originally planned to release New York maps in mid-December. The maps have yet to be released and this delay falls heavily on the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Homeowners across New York City, in areas such as Breezy Point, the Rockaway peninsula, Broad Channel, Staten Island and Gerritsen Beach, are anxiously waiting to rebuild their homes, but need the guidance these maps provide.  Those seeking to repair or rebuild their homes need to know what specifications they will be expected to comply with in the years to come.  Without this guidance they could be forced to make expensive renovations soon after rebuilding from the damage caused by Sandy.

ABFE Maps are vital to understand flood risks and rebuild stronger and safer communities. Hurricane Sandy's New York victims deserve to be able to promptly rebuild their homes to ensure families are protected against future hurricanes and other unforeseen natural disasters. I strongly urge your agency to advance the release of New York’s ABFEs.




U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer


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