ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that another $800,000 in federal disaster aid has been approved for local governments and non-profits organizations in Cayuga, Oneida, Oswego and Lewis counties that responded to a series of severe lake-effect snow storms in late January.
“Since President Bush signed an emergency declaration on March 3, more than $1.8 million in federal disaster aid has been approved to reimburse communities in Upstate New York for the costs they incurred responding to the storm,” said Marianne C. Jackson, federal coordinating officer for FEMA’s disaster recovery effort.
Edward F. Jacoby, Jr., state coordinating officer and Director of the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), said, “While the snows have long since melted, we are doing everything possible under Governor George E. Pataki’s leadership to help communities recover from the financial burden created by the lake-effect storms. These funds will go a long way in achieving that goal.”
The federal funding announced today includes:
- A total of $425,386 to applicants in Oswego County including $164,319 to the County of Oswego and $83,205 to the City of Oswego;
- A total of $223,296 to applicants in Oneida County including $55,000 to the City of Utica and $43,136 to the City of Rome;
- A total of $47,778 to applicants in Cayuga County including $9,906 to the Town of Sterling and $6,185 to the Auburn Enlarged City School District;
- A total of $22,738 to applicants in Lewis County including $4,293 for the Village of Lowville and $7,650 for the Town of Diana.
Under the President’s emergency declaration, issued at the request of Governor George E. Pataki, the federal government is reimbursing applicants for 75 percent of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts and personnel overtime incurred while responding to the storm. The State of New York reimburses applicants for an additional 12.5 percent of the costs and the applicant is responsible for the remaining 12.5 percent.
The lake-effect storms began January 28 and lasted through January 31, with snow falling at rates of up to six inches per hour. Despite the efforts of county and local highway departments, roads became impassable and were closed, states of emergency were declared, and schools and businesses closed. State Police and New York State Department of Transportation personnel were in continuous contact to coordinate the clearance of areas of Interstate Route 81, including on and off-ramps, which at times were buried under more than two feet of snow.
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 a national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U. S. Fire Administration.