ALBANY, N.Y. -- Federal disaster assistance to New York communities recovering from floods caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee is projected to top $1.3 billion, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and New York State officials.
“These were huge storms which caused unprecedented damage to communities across the state,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Philip E. Parr. “FEMA continues to work aggressively to help these communities rebuild.”
Soon after Hurricane Irene hit, Public Assistance (PA) was federally approved for 31 counties from Long Island to the Canadian border. Tropical Storm Lee prompted a declaration that funded PA for 14 counties, eight of which had also been declared for Irene. To date, FEMA has reimbursed $32.2 million in PA funding for repairing roads, bridges, utilities, schools and other public facilities across the state. There are approximately 13,000 such repair projects from 1,974 eligible applicants in the 37 affected counties, and FEMA anticipates that its share of the cost of these projects will eventually exceed $1.3 billion.
During the height of the response effort last year, FEMA had 895 employees on the two disasters. At present, 485 FEMA employees are at work as recovery efforts continue. More than a fifth of the FEMA employees working on the two disasters today are local residents hired to help support the agency’s mission.
Helping the hardest-hit areas of the state recover continues to be a priority for FEMA. With the support of four other federal agencies, FEMA has three Long-Term Community Recovery teams engaged in 12 communities in Broome, Delaware, Greene, Schenectady, Schoharie and Tioga counties. The teams are focused on identifying any unmet needs in the wake of the storms and are assisting with developing long-term community recovery plans, strategies or technical assistance issues.
FEMA has also provided temporary housing units to 111 families and individuals who had no other housing alternatives while awaiting the repair or replacement of their storm-damaged residences.
Soon after Irene struck last year, FEMA and its state partners established a Joint Field Office in Albany. Temporary FEMA/state facilities were opened in Kirkwood, Lake Placid and Hewlett, N.Y.
Disaster assistance by the numbers
- To date, FEMA has approved a total of 33,073 registrations for Individual Assistance under the Individuals and Households Program, providing more than $155 million for housing grants, rental assistance, home repair costs and other disaster-related needs. Under Hurricane Irene, 28 counties were declared eligible for Individual Assistance; for Lee, 13 counties were receiving that assistance.
- Following Irene and Lee there were 743 claims for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, totaling $1,829,846.
- The Small Business Administration approved 2,501 applications for low-interest disaster loans totaling $136,537,300.
- Seventy-four temporary Disaster Recovery Centers were established at locations around the state to serve the needs of survivors.
- FEMA has approved more than $7.1 million in grants to provide crisis counseling to New York residents traumatized by the disasters.
- To facilitate its New York operations on both disasters, FEMA has signed 126 contracts worth approximately $12 million with nearly 100 suppliers and vendors, the great majority of which are local businesses.
- FEMA has provided $9 million so far in grant money to New York State to fund the Disaster Case Management mission to help survivors of Irene and Lee address their disaster-caused unmet needs.
- To date, 14,089 claims worth $417,002,602 have been paid under the National Flood Insurance Program for both disasters.
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