ALBANY, N.Y. -- President Obama issued a Major Disaster Declaration on Tuesday for five counties in New York for damages incurred from Tropical Storm Lee. The declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to extend assistance under the Individuals and Households Assistance program. Homeowners, renters and businesses of any size affected by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee can now seek help from FEMA.
The declaration comes at the request of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who wrote to the president on September 8 citing the devastation caused by the heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lee coming on the heels of previous damage caused by Hurricane Irene.
Counties eligible for Individual Assistance are Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Tioga. Under this declaration, these counties are now eligible to apply for help under the Individuals and Households Program and for Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, USDA food coupons, USDA food commodities, Disaster Legal Services, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Small Business Administration disaster loans.
The previous Major Disaster Declaration issued after Hurricane Irene covered only the "incident period" of August 29 through September 5, FEMA officials said, during which period the damages claimed must have occurred. The new declaration establishes a new incident period for the distress caused by Lee, which begins on September 7 and is ongoing. The original declaration for Irene damage remains in effect, and the deadline for registration for losses suffered during that storm is October 29.
Residents of the counties designated for Individual and Household Assistance who suffered damages from Lee are urged to register with FEMA as soon as possible. By phone, call the FEMA Helpline line at 800-621-3362. For those with speech or hearing disabilities, use the TTY number at 1-800-462-7585. Applicants can also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or with any web-enabled mobile device or smartphone at m.fema.gov.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.