BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Eight-five (85) percent of the estimated 4.0 million cubic yards of debris left in the wake October's surprise storm has been removed, according to officials from the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). State and local officials reported 3.4 million cubic yards of debris have been removed from Erie , Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties to date.
"The 3.4 million cubic yards of debris reflects, among other things, the removal of hazardous hangers from more than 156,000 trees," said Gary Shoffstall, Chief of the Emergency Management Branch for the Buffalo District ,U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and team leader for the emergency power and debris missions assigned by FEMA. "Hazardous hangers are limbs two inches in diameter or greater still hanging from trees, posing a danger to pedestrians and vehicles below."
State and local governments in Erie , Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties continue their clean-up efforts, which include the removal of hazardous trees, and the removal of debris from the streams. "Debris that remains in streams when they freeze will increase the potential for flooding when they thaw," said Shoffstall.
Other disaster news:
More than 17,000 registrations for individual assistance have been received.
More than $5.1 million in individual assistance has been approved, including:
- more than $4.3 million in temporary housing and grants for repair or replacement assistance not covered by insurance; and
- more than $790,000 in grants for serious disaster-related needs, not covered by insurance or other assistance programs, such as medical, dental, funeral, personal property, and transportation expenses.
Approximately 100 FEMA home inspections remain to be done. The turn around time averages less than three days from an applicant's registration.
Two Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but return to normal hours, Mon. - Sat., 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., on Friday, November 24.
Tonawanda - Brighton Golf Club, 70 Brompton Road
Buffalo - The Olmsted Center for the Visually Impaired, 1160 Main Street
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued 12,410 applications for low interest, long term disaster loans
- 338 applications have been returned to the SBA for processing
- The SBA has approved for over $1.0 million in Disaster Recovery Loans
Disaster victims are urged to register for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. Victims can also register online at www.fema.gov.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.