Washington, DC - The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster aid has been made available for New York to help families and communities recover from the effects of a series of severe storms that started late last month.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA Director and Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response at Homeland Security, said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred over the period of July 21 through August 13.
Immediately after the declaration, Brown designated the following 14 counties eligible for aid to stricken residents and business owners: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Livingston, Montgomery, Ontario, Rensselaer, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
In addition, Brown said federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities in the counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Columbia, Delaware, Fulton, Livingston, Montgomery, Ontario, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates.
Federal funding also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks, Brown said. He indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Justo Hernandez was named by Brown to coordinate federal recovery operations. Hernandez said that those in the counties designated for aid to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will be available starting Saturday, August 30, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.