More than $120 million in Individual Assistance Approved for Disaster Survivors
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. This morning, the President convened a briefing at that National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters to receive the latest update on federal efforts to support state and local response and recovery activities. At FEMA, the President was joined by cabinet members and other senior officials from his team. During the briefing the President heard directly from Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, as well as borough presidents and mayors from across the affected area, who joined by phone.
Today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano traveled to West Virginia and Long Island, New York to meet with state and local officials and discuss ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Sandy. Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan joined officials from FEMA, the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers in Hoboken, Newark, and Jersey City, N.J., as well as Staten Island, N.Y. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan visited public housing developments in the Rockaways and toured Breezy Point, N.Y. Secretary Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited hospital workers, residents impacted by the storm, and local officials in the Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs of New York City. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills joined Governor Dannel Malloy and other state and local officials, and small business owners in Norwalk and Bridgeport, Conn.
As of 3:00 p.m. today, more than 139,000 individuals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have registered for assistance, and more than $120 million has been approved in FEMA Assistance. Disaster Recovery Centers continue to open in the hardest hit areas. Seven Disaster Recovery Centers are open in New York, two in New Jersey and three 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. The first step to receiving assistance is by registering with FEMA. 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.
For those who are unable to return home, states, tribes, localities and the Red Cross continue to operate emergency shelters along the East Coast. As of last night, more than 280 shelters across 9 states supporting more than 17,700 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. You may also text SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA).
FEMA also has activated, at the request of the states, its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program for New York and New Jersey. This program allows eligible survivors who are in shelters and cannot return to their homes due to damages caused by Hurricane Sandy to stay in participating hotels or motels until more suitable housing accommodations are available.
"Individuals are registering for disaster assistance all the time, which means we’re getting more help directly to the survivors of this storm,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Impacted residents and business owners in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey can apply for federal assistance by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), via mobile devices at m.fema.gov or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.”
Residents are experiencing long lines at gas stations in the impacted areas and it will take some time for the region’s fuel supply chain to get back to full capacity. We are taking immediate steps that will provide relief in the short term at the President’s direction, and working with the National Guard and the Governors of New York and New Jersey. The Defense Logistics Agency is providing much needed fuel to the region, which will be moved directly into the most impacted areas in close coordination with state and local partners.
The national task force, established at the direction of the President continues to work to restore power to people as quickly possible and 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.
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. Yesterday, the President declared that Hurricane Sandy has created a severe energy supply interruption and directed the Energy Department to loan DoD ultra-low sulfur diesel.
Yesterday, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) was directed to purchase up to 12 million gallons of unleaded fuel and up to 10 million gallons of diesel fuel for distribution in areas impacted by the storm to supplement ongoing emergency work and private sector efforts. Fuel has begun to be distributed throughout New York, New Jersey and other communities impacted by the storm. The federal government also has provided hundreds of generators to help critical infrastructure sites and fuel stations operate until full power is restored.
Today, Secretary Napolitano announced the expansion of the temporary, blanket waiver of the Jones Act, issued yesterday, to also facilitate the transportation of feedstocks, blending components, and additives used to produce fuels. As a result of impacts caused by Hurricane Sandy, yesterday 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, to provide additional fuel resources to the region. This will provide more fuel to the region. The U.S. Coast Guard’s continuing efforts are focused on removing all restrictions on vessel movement in the Port of New York and New Jersey, as well as its associated waterways, approaches, and anchorages, and to facilitate the delivery of fuel and other critical commodities. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act, earlier this week, 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.
To assist with the metropolitan flood fight, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to aggressively support a de-watering mission of critical infrastructure at the direction of FEMA. De-watering pumps have been deployed and additional large capacity pumps are en route. Teams are in place at critical areas around the New York City vicinity, as identified by local officials and pumping water operations are underway. Additional USACE teams are at 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.
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 impacted areas. 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. Seven federal staging areas are also operating in affected areas. As of 4 p.m., more than 2.9 million liters of water and more than 2.3 million meals have been transferred to states to supplement their existing inventory.
In support of New York and New Jersey, FEMA has transferred resources such as food, water, and fuel to the state to distribute to individuals at Points of Distribution (POD) sites. Points of Distribution are centralized points where supplies are delivered and the public travels to the site to pick up commodities following a disaster or emergency. The state, in coordination with local governments, identifies the location of the PODs which are currently operating in hard-hit disaster areas. Individuals should contact their local emergency management for more information.
More than 4,400 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. FEMA continues to coordinate with the federal family to deploy and mobilize hundreds of staff from various federal agencies to support community relations and operational activities. More than 1,400 housing inspectors are on the ground, meeting with disaster survivors to identify damages to homes, to further expedite assistance to individuals.
Today, the President expanded the Rhode Island declaration to include assistance for state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities in the counties of Bristol, Newport, and Washington. Earlier in the week, the President 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. 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:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has more than 120 employees on the ground in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. As of November 2, the SBA has issued more than 100,000 disaster loan applications to residents and businesses in the three declared states. 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 Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has 924 national service members that have been deployed to seven states, with more than 850 more on standby for assignments. These duties include assisting with shelter operations, call centers, debris removal, and mass care in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Members include AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and 41 of 42 FEMA Corps teams.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s continuing efforts are focused on removing all restrictions on vessel movement in the Port of New York and New Jersey, as well as its associated waterways, approaches, and anchorages, and to facilitate the delivery of fuel and other critical commodities.
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has purchased millions of gallons of unleaded and diesel fuel that is being distributed in areas throughout New York, New Jersey and other communities impacted by the storm to supplement ongoing private sector efforts.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced that national emergency grant funds will be awarded to both New Jersey and New York to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts. More than $15.5 million will be available to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to assist with the restoration of public lands and infrastructure while also providing temporary work to those in need of employment. More than $27.7 million will be available to the New York Department of Labor to assist with the restoration of public lands and infrastructure.
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 non-road equipment in addition to non-road vehicles in New Jersey. The waiver will be in effect through November 20.
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 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 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.