NEW YORK – Federal agencies, organized under Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination, are supporting the efforts of state, local, tribal and nongovernmental organizations focused on the long-term process of helping New York recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Ken Curtin, federal disaster recovery coordinator for Sandy recovery in New York, says “FDRC leverages the resources of multiple federal agencies to assist states and local municipalities rebuild safer and stronger. This multi-layered coordination is essential, and the FDRC is designed to facilitate these collaborations.”
After Hurricane Sandy and other storms resulted in loss of life, damage to property and interruption of essential services for many residing in New York, the state invited the hardest-hit communities to prepare recovery plans.
Community Planning and Capacity Building, a component of FDRC, became the state’s eyes and ears on the ground, conducting research on the communities that would later be included in the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program. The NY Rising program is designed to help certain communities assess current damage, future threats and economic viability.
Myra Shird, Ph.D., the CPCB field coordinator, is excited by the program’s emphasis on regional planning. “Determining each community’s needs requires an understanding of how communities are interdependent,” says Shird. “Effective planning takes into consideration not only the local community but also neighbors in the region. A mitigation effort upstream, for example, if not implemented with other communities in mind, could potentially exacerbate issues downstream. It is important to plan and coordinate with many stakeholders to ensure an effective recovery.”
The CPCB staff used the information they gathered to create “fact packs” of each community, which are helping regional liaisons, consultants and local leaders assess needs and determine opportunities to increase resiliency.
The state officially launched NY Rising on July 18, and the 102 participating communities are expected to complete the planning process within eight months. These communities will develop effective reconstruction strategies to guide project and investment decisions, redirect land use and gradually transition at-risk assets to a lower level of risk. By completing a plan, each community will position itself to obtain funding to implement the plan.
“We are working to support the state’s regional planning initiatives because we know they ultimately will help entire communities recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy,” says Curtin. “CPCB will continue to assist the state’s long-term recovery efforts by providing workshops and other types of technical training to planning leaders. They also will help identify individuals who can provide peer-to-peer support or subject matter expertise to planning leaders.”