WASHINGTON - At the direction of President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to lead the federal government's effort to provide assistance and support to states affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, ensuring the federal family and its public and private partners continue to provide all available resources to support state, local, territorial and tribal communities in affected areas. President Obama received updates throughout the day from his team on current response and recovery efforts, and spoke directly with state and local officials from across the affected areas.
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino traveled to Staten Island, NY to meet with state and local officials, first responders, and disaster survivors and view ongoing response and recovery efforts of the storm. Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano traveled to Connecticut and New York to view ongoing efforts.
This morning, Secretary Napolitano issued a temporary, blanket waiver of the Jones Act to immediately allow additional oil tankers coming from the Gulf of Mexico to enter Northeastern ports. This will provide more fuel to the region. The Coast Guard also has re-opened the port of New York to all tug and barge traffic carrying petroleum products. And Customs and Border Protection are working to ensure air and sea ports in the affected areas are fully staffed and ready to receive passengers and cargo as they return to operation. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain federal gasoline requirements for gas sold and distributed in more than a dozen states. This waiver will help ensure an adequate supply of fuels in the impacted states.
The Department of Energy is working with industry partners to ensure that the infrastructure to deliver petroleum is up and running to meet fuel demands. Normal operations have already resumed at two major refineries in Delaware and New Jersey, and pipeline companies have restored services to six pipelines servicing New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and north to Maine.
In support of an aggressive power restoration effort, the President has approved a 100 percent cost share for ten days, starting October 31, for emergency work performed by state, tribal and local governments to restore emergency power and transportation assistance required to perform this emergency work, including direct federal assistance for New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut counties designated for Public Assistance. Other forms of Category B (emergency work) public assistance remain at a 75 percent cost share.
Also, a national task force, established at the direction of the President to restore power to people as quickly possible, has been expanded to address fuel shortages. Members include Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and representatives from the private sector and local law enforcement. More than 16 airlift flights have been completed to transport power restoration vehicles and crews from private utility companies from California to the East Coast, and the airlifts continued today. The federal government also has provided hundreds of generators to help critical infrastructure sites and fuel stations operate until full power is restored.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to aggressively support a de-watering mission at the direction of FEMA. De-watering pumps have been deployed and additional large capacity pumps are enroute. Teams are in place at critical areas around the New York City vicinity, such as the Battery Park Tunnel, as identified by local officials and pumping water operations are underway. Additional USACE teams are in ports and the waterways in both New Jersey and New York clearing debris and technical assistance personnel have been deployed to support emergency temporary power operations.
“Survivors of this storm can take the first steps toward recovery right now by registering for assistance with FEMA,” said FEMA Administrator Fugate. “Impacted residents and business owners in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey can apply for federal assistance by phone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), via mobile devices at m.fema.gov or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.”
As of last night, states, tribes, localities and the Red Cross and other organizations continue to support more than 330 shelters across 9 states supporting more than 15,000 residents. To find a shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit the Red Cross web site, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check local media outlets.
As of 3:00pm, more than 98,000 individuals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have registered for assistance, and more than $40 million has been approved. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey can apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Those in affected areas with access to the internet may register by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or online at www.disasterassistance.gov. FEMA is asking that those with ability to register online do so to keep phone lines open for those without connectivity and to share this information with friends and neighbors.
Disaster Recovery Centers are opening in the hardest hit areas. Seven Disaster Recovery Centers are open in New York, two in New Jersey and two in Connecticut, and more continue to open. Additional disaster recovery centers are being planned. Specialists from the state, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the types of assistance available to survivors. To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or by mobile phone at m.fema.gov. Two Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators have been appointed.
At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, if needed and requested. In advance of the storm, FEMA and the Department of Defense established Incident Support Bases (ISBs) in Westover, Mass. and Lakehurst, New Jersey to pre-position supplies including water, meals, blankets and other resources closer to potentially impacted areas, should they be needed and requested by states. An additional ISB has been established at Lakehurst Naval Air Station to focus on temporary emergency power, to serve as a staging area for generators from FEMA, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration (GSA) and other agencies throughout the country. As of this morning, more than 7.1 million liters of water and more than 1.6 million meals were positioned in staging at the ISBs. More than 1.6 million liters of water and more than 1 million meals have been transferred to states to supplement their existing inventory. Today, at the support of DoD, sixty fuel trucks carrying 200 thousand gallons of fuel arrived at ISBs to support emergency response operations. The ISBs continue to be restocked in anticipation of additional requests for assistance from affected states. In addition to the ISBs, 7 Federal Staging Areas are operating in affected areas.
More than 3,200 FEMA personnel are working to support response operations, including search and rescue, situational awareness, communications and logistical support in states affected by the storm. Community relations teams are on the ground in the hardest hit areas of the Mid-Atlantic going door-to-door to inform disaster survivors about available services and resources and to gather situational awareness. More than 1,000 housing inspectors are on the ground, meeting with disaster survivors to identify damages to homes, to further expedite assistance to individuals.
The President also signed federal emergency declarations for Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia. This allows FEMA to provide resources directly to state, tribal and local government engaged in life-saving and sustaining activities.
Federal and state personnel are on the ground to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments in several states. At the request of the respective states, assessments have been or are being conducted for counties in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia; and are being scheduled for Florida. These assessments are designed to give the governor of each state a better picture of damages, and to determine if a request for further federal support is needed. Other assessments may be scheduled as needed and requested.
In addition, the following federal activities are also being coordinated:
- President Obama today directed the Energy Department to loan the Department of Defense ultra-low sulfur diesel from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) will begin drawing down stocks from the heating oil reserve terminal in Groton, Connecticut as early as tomorrow. The fuel, which will be distributed to state, local and federal responders in the New York/New Jersey area, will be used to provide additional supplies to ensure continued response and recovery efforts. This includes fuel for emergency equipment and buildings, including electrical generators, water pumps, GSA buildings, trucks and other vehicles.
- The General Services Administration (GSA) is in the process of transferring fuel tankers from Washington State to New York and New Jersey to provide fuel for government vehicles. The tankers are currently in route.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has more than 500 people engaged to support the response mission. The USACE priority is to support New York City unwatering mission. Also, the USACE is aggressively supporting Emergency Temporary Power mission in New York and New Jersey and has deployed the 249th engineer battalion and other temporary emergency power assets to provide support to areas impacted by the storm.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved temporary fuel waivers to assist states impacted by Hurricane Sandy. EPA has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain federal clean gasoline requirements for gasoline sold and distributed in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, District of Columbia, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. The waiver was granted by EPA in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE). On November 1, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in consultation with the U.S. Department of Energy, expanded the emergency waiver of the Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel specifications to allow the use of high-sulfur heating oil in diesel-powered highway and nonroad equipment in addition to nonroad vehicles in New Jersey. The waiver will be in effect through November 20.
- The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration National Defense Reserve vessel, Training Ship (TS) Empire State, is berthed and is feeding more than 250 first responders in New York City.
- The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced that approximately 877 national service members have been deployed to seven states affected by Hurricane Sandy, with nearly 900 more individuals on standby for assignments in the hardest-hit areas. National service members are assisting with shelter operations, call centers, debris removal, and mass care in response to Hurricane Sandy in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has deployed more than 700 HHS personnel, to provide public health and medical assistance to New York and New Jersey in Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts. Approximately 80 beds from a Federal Medical Station were set up overnight in one wing of the Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn to accommodate a surge of patients at the hospital. Healthcare providers from a Disaster Medical Assistance Team, out of Texas, augmented hospital staff in providing care for the surge of patients. Twelve Disaster Medical Assistance Teams with caches of medical supplies and a team of U.S. Public Health Service commissioned corps officers are providing care in medical shelters in the New York City area. A 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Team from Tennessee continues to provide medical care in a general population shelter in New Jersey. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has declared a public health emergency for New Jersey and New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall on the East Coast Monday evening. This action will enable the Secretary to ensure that beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continue to receive needed services as New Jersey and New York communities respond and recover from the storm.
- The Department of Defense (DoD) continues to coordinate with FEMA, U.S. Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau on providing lifesaving and life sustaining assets to FEMA and governors, as requested, and is available for disaster response to support recovery efforts.
- U.S. Northern Command Regional Defense Coordinating Officers (DCO), and portions of the Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) remain on the ground to validate, plan and coordinate Department of Defense (DoD) support of FEMA's response operations and to facilitate DOD support of life-saving and response operations. Today, in support of power restoration efforts, Air Mobility Command heavy airlift aircraft supported movement of 61 power restoration vehicles, associated equipment, non-medical personnel and cargo from Travis and March Air Force Bases, Cal., to Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York.
- The National Guard currently has nearly 7,400 Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in nine eastern states performing communications, engineering, evacuation, medical, security, search and rescue, sheltering, debris removal and transportation missions. The NY National Guard helped distribute 144,000 meals from 16 Point-of-Distribution locations they set up in New York City and Long Island. In NJ National Guard members have been feeding more than 300 residents at the Menlow Park Veteran's Home, using a mobile field kitchen. The NJ National Guard is providing power generation at State Police facilities. In WV National Guard CERFP (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Enhanced Response Force Package) teams have assessed snow-damaged buildings in 14 areas throughout Nicholas County.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has moved more than 100 officers from the Southeast and Midwest into the New York and New Jersey areas to assist with recovery efforts. These officers are working to ensure air and sea ports in the affected area are fully staffed and ready to receive passengers and cargo as they return to operation. CBP has worked to expedite the arrival of power recovery crews arriving from Canada by establishing a dedicated traffic lane at the land border crossing in Vermont used by the crews.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is making $17 million in quick-release emergency relief funds immediately available to New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island to help begin repairing the damage to roads, bridges, and tunnels. Assessments continue throughout the Northeast to determine the full extent of the damage.
- The Department of Energy (DOE) continues to work closely with FEMA, and in support of state, tribal, and local officials as the electric industry engages in power restoration efforts. Daily Situation Reports that detail the storm's impacts and the restoration activities being taken by the energy sector are available at www.doe.gov.
- The Internal Revenue Service recently announced it is granting taxpayers and tax preparers affected by Hurricane Sandy until Nov. 7 to file returns and accompanying payments normally due on October 31.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is coordinating with FEMA and affected states to identify housing providers who may have available housing units, including public housing agencies and multi-family owners. HUD is also speeding federal disaster assistance to Connecticut, New York and New Jersey to provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes in the most heavily impacted areas. The President's major disaster declarations for Connecticut, New York and New Jersey allow HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to some families in the designated counties. This week, HUD also announced it will speed federal disaster assistance to the State of New Jersey, State of New York and State of Connecticut and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes due to Hurricane Sandy.
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.
Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.The social media links are provided for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
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