Syracuse, NY -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that another $5 million has been approved in response to the April 3-5 ice storm, bringing the total amount of federal disaster aid approved to more than $25 million.
"When a disaster of this magnitude strikes, a rapid and effective response is critical to protecting lives as well as property," said Marianne C. Jackson, federal coordinating officer for FEMA's disaster recovery operation. "But when the danger passes, it is also important that the financial help individuals and communities need to recover gets to them quickly."
Jackson said that more than 22,000 residents, businesses, local governments and non-profit organizations from central and western New York, applied for the disaster programs triggered when President Bush declared a major disaster in 15 counties at the request of Governor George E. Pataki.
Edward F. Jacoby, Jr., State Coordinating Officer and Director of the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), said, "Expediting the disaster aid to those affected by the ice storm is essential to restoring the vitality of our communities and helping individuals and families get back on their feet. We are working hard to make sure the aid gets to them as quickly as possible."
Included in the $5 million announced today is $3.92 million through the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program to people in the eight counties declared eligible for Individual Assistance - Cayuga, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Oswego, Seneca and Wayne.
The ONA program, administered by the New York State Department of Labor, includes reimbursement for personal property losses; medical, dental, and funeral expenses; and/or damage to private vehicles. The federal government funds 75 percent of the amount distributed through the program and New York State funds the remaining 25 percent. The federal portion of the ONA funds approved for victims of the ice storm now totals $15.6 million.
New York State Labor Department Commissioner Linda Angello said, "When disaster strikes there's no way of predicting how people's lives will be effected. The ONA program helps to alleviate financial burdens that the victims may have when they are faced with a disaster. It's another example of the state working with federal agencies to help New Yorkers when a tragedy occurs."
Another $290,000 was also approved by FEMA for homeowners in the eight counties to repair damage caused by the disaster and temporary housing for persons forced to move from a damaged residence. Total funding through this program now totals $5.99 million.
The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reported that another $841,200 in low-interest disaster loans was approved, bringing the total amount of SBA loans approved for victims of the ice storm to $1,471,000.
Government entities and certain non-profit organizations in all 15 declared counties - Cayuga, Chenango, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Seneca, Schenectady, Wayne and Yates - are also eligible to recover costs for measures taken to save lives, ensure public health and safety, protect property, remove debris and repair infrastructure under FEMA's Public Assistance program.
Jackson said a total of $1.99 million has been obligated to the State of New York to reimburse local governments and non-profit organizations for their eligible disaster-related expenses to date. FEMA reimburses 75 percent of eligible disaster-related expenses, New York State funds 12.5 percent, and the applicant is responsible for the remaining 12.5 percent.
"The funding available to these groups can be a welcome relief for local taxpayers because without it they would have to bear the financial consequences of the ice storm on t...