08.02.06

Schumer Urges FEMA To Declare Fourteen New York Counties Federal Disaster Areas, Send Federal Aid

Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, Ulster Counties Suffered Severe DamageSchumer Writes to Top FEMA Official for Individual and Public Assistance for Impact CountiesSchumer Pus

In the wake of last weekend's severe thunderstorms and subsequent flooding, US Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Michael D. Brown, Undersecretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, to grant Governor George Patakis request to declare fourteen New York Counties as federal disaster areas and approve federal assistance for individuals and municipalities suffering losses. Governor Pataki granted Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, and Ulster counties as states of emergency and is now seeking federal aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The bottom line is that this is important federal assistance thats needed to help a number of residents and counties get back on their feet, Schumer said. FEMAs job is to help local areas in their times of need and I can personally tell you that this is definitely a time of need.

Thunder storms that ripped though the area last weekend yielded many inches of rainfall in just two days. Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, and Ulster counties sustained the most severe damage as a result of wind and floods. These counties now face repairs and restoration of numerous roads, culverts, bridges, ditches, and streams.

Reported rainfall amounts from across the state averaged 13 inches with much higher totals of 24 inches in western New York and 36 inches in the Catskill region. As rainswollen rivers crested and overflowed, roads were closed and hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate their homes.

The state is currently seeking aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance for the following categories of aid: 1) Individual Assistance for citizens who suffered losses, including the Individual and Households program, disaster unemployment insurance, and Small Business Administration loans; and 2) Public Assistance to reimburse communities for debris removal, emergency response efforts and restoration of public infrastructure to counties in new York State.

On Tuesday, Schumer urged the State to declare the region a disaster area, a prerequisite for obtaining FEMA funds. Now that the State has declared the area a disaster, FEMA will determine if the area is eligible for funds and how much relief it will get.

Click here to view letter.



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