Schumer Calls On Fema to Fast Track Bay Ridge - Sunset Park Damage Assessment After Historic Tornado - First Step t Secure Federal Aid

Devastating Freak Tornado Ripped Off Roofs, Tore Up Streets, and Devastated Local Landmarks Senator Urges FEMA to Expedite Preliminary Disaster Assessments to Determine if Communities Can Qualify for Federal Aid

After yesterday's freak tornado that tore a path of destruction through the Bay Ridge and Sunset Park neighborhoods of Brooklyn, today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to expedite the preliminary disaster assessment for the area. The preliminary disaster assessment is the first step toward securing federal aid for individuals and local businesses that suffered severe damage or lost revenue in the wake of the tornado. Schumer asked that FEMA have their assessment team on the ground without delay.


"FEMA needs to move as fast as the tornado," Schumer said. "Local businesses and residents are dealing with something that hasn't happened in more than a century and they need all they can get to recover. This storm hit Bay Ridge and Sunset Park like a ton of bricks now we must work as quickly as possible to help these communities get back on their feet. I look forward to working with the State and City to ensure whatever aid that is need flows as quickly as possible."


Today, the State officially requested the disaster assessment. A copy of Schumer's letter to FEMA Administrator David Paulison is on the following page:


August 9, 2007


The Honorable R. David Paulison

Under Secretary for Federal Emergency Management

Department of Homeland Security

500 C Street, SW

Washington , D.C. 20472


Dear Under Secretary Paulison:


I write today to support New York State's request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) immediately provide technical assistance to perform preliminary damage assessments following the severe storms that hammered New York City yesterday.


This fierce storm hit New York City just prior to morning rush hour, resulting in major flooding throughout the region.  This forced the transit system to shut down for hours, crippling the city during its busiest hours.  The water flooded the city's storm sewers and several major arteries throughout the city, causing an automobile accident that killed one woman.  A tornado with winds up to 135 miles per hour touched down on Staten Island and ravaged parts of Brooklyn, tearing roofs from houses and cutting off electricity to thousands of homes.  Streets throughout the city remained blocked off from resulting wreckage and debris throughout the day.  Local businesses have endured significant structural damages and a subsequent loss of revenue.


Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.   I urge you to assist the State and City in every way possible so that the affected communities may quickly recover from this devastating storm.



Charles E. Schumer

U.S. Senator

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