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In Wake Of Flooding, Schumer Calls On Pataki To Help Long Island Get Federal Disaster Relief Assistance

Process Mandates that State must ask Feds Directly for Help In Cases With Extreme Damage

Today, in wake of the severe flooding that has damaged myriad homes in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, U.S Senator Charles E. Schumer called on Governor George Pataki to formally ask FEMA for emergency assistance for Long Island counties to help them recover from last weeks rainstorms. The process for receiving disaster assistance mandates that the state must formally request help from FEMA to receive disaster assistance funding. Pataki has not yet ordered preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) to begin or declared a State of Emergency in these counties, all of which have sustained serious damage to homes and public infrastructure.

Nassau and Suffolk Counties are going to face extensive repair costs once they assess the damages from last weeks storms and without disaster relief help from state and federal government its going to be much tougher to fix all of the damage, Schumer said. The damage in Long Island is clearly beyond the capabilities of the state and municipal authorities and I hope that FEMA will move as quickly as possible to get the people of Long Island the emergency relief they need.

Long Island was slammed by a severe weather system last week. The National Weather Service reported that more than a foot of rain fell over an eightday period, making this Long Island's wettest October on record. Inundated drainage systems caused sewage to overflow, and as basements and homes flooded, nearly 2,000 homes were left without power. Storm runoff has contaminated the part of Long Islands shoreline, leading to bans on shellfish harvests. For the past several days, residents have pumped water from basements, tried to waddle cars thru deep puddles, and fended off fallen power lines. Since much of the water is still receding, many municipalities have not yet begun to assess their damage totals. When the flooding subsides, Nassau and Suffolk 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, 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 FEMAs help, the ability of these local governments to deliver the essential services their citizens depend on could be greatly diminished.