More than $158 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 Hurricane Sandy, ensuring the federal family and its public and private partners continue to provide all available resources to support state, local, and tribal communities in affected areas.
Today, the President convened a call with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security John Brennan and other senior members of his response team to receive the latest update on ongoing efforts to support governors and local officials in impacted states. The President made clear that he expects his team to stay completely focused on meeting the needs of our state and local partners, and the families that have been impacted by the storm.
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Monmouth County and Hoboken, New Jersey to meet with state and local officials including Governor Chris Christie, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, U.S. Representatives Rush Holt, Frank Pallone and Albio Sires, and Mayors Paul Smith and Dawn Zimmer to review ongoing response and recovery efforts.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate traveled to New York City to meet with Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and visit the communities of Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point in Queens, NY, to survey the ongoing response and recovery efforts, and discuss long-term recovery planning.
“Our priority remains getting assistance directly to the survivors of this storm,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “More than $158 million has already been approved for individuals to assist with housing and other disaster-related needs. 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.”
As of 3 p.m., more than 182,000 individuals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have registered for assistance, and more than $158 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) are 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 registering with FEMA. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York 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.
FEMA has activated, at the request of the states, its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program for New Jersey and New York. This program allows eligible survivors who 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.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has begun opening Business Recovery Centers in impacted areas of New Jersey and New York. These Centers provide one-on-one help to business owners seeking disaster assistance for losses caused by Hurricane Sandy. Businesses and non-profit organizations may be eligible to borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
“Businesses with physical damages or loss of revenue should visit the Center and apply for an SBA disaster business loan,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “The SBA is opening these centers and making resources available to assist affected business owners in their recovery. Customer service representatives will be available to answer questions about the disaster loan program and assist business owners in completing their applications during this sensitive time.”
The Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is working with FEMA and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to secure as many as 350 buses which will be used across New Jersey to help commuters connect to or reach Manhattan and the surrounding area. The buses will be used to supplement NJ Transit commuter rail and PATH rail lines where service is not yet restored. Some of the buses are expected to be in place for Monday's commute and more will be added throughout the week.
With residents experiencing long lines at gas stations in the impacted areas, the federal government is 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 Jersey and New York. As part of that effort, the Energy Department has established a team that is helping state and local officials identify gas stations that are in need of emergency generators to restore power or are running short on fuel supplies. Department of Energy has created a new toll-free number that gas station owners and managers along the East Coast can now call if they need assistance from state and local officials in restoring power or securing supplies of gasoline. Station owners or operators can now call the Department of Energy’s toll free hotline at 1-866-402-3775 to report their condition. The Defense Logistics Agency continues to provide much needed fuel to the region, which will be moved directly into the most impacted areas in close coordination with state and local partners.
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. As of 4 p.m., more than 4.8 million liters of water and more than 2.4 million meals have been transferred to states to supplement their existing inventory.
More than 4,800 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 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 1,700 housing inspectors are on the ground, meeting with disaster survivors to identify damages to homes, to further expedite assistance to individuals.
To date the President has declared that major disasters exist in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and emergency declarations have been made in Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.
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) opened a Business Recovery Center in Manahawkin, NJ, which provides one-on-one help to business owners seeking disaster assistance for losses caused by Hurricane Sandy that began on Oct. 26. Also, the SBA has opened a Business Recovery Center in Brooklyn, NY for business owners seeking disaster assistance for losses caused by Hurricane Sandy that began on Oct. 27.
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 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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive federal clean diesel fuel requirements in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in and around New York City to allow the use of home heating oil in highway vehicles, nonroad vehicles, and nonroad equipment designated by the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York for emergency response. These waivers were granted by EPA in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE). The federal waivers will help ensure an adequate supply of fuel for emergency response in the impacted areas of New Jersey, New York City, and Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has made $12 million in quick release emergency relief funds immediately available to New Jersey and Connecticut to help begin repairing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, while assessments continue throughout the Northeast to determine the full extent of the damage. The funds - $10 million for New Jersey and $2 million for Connecticut - mark another installment of federal-aid highway funds going toward repairing damage from Hurricane Sandy. Last week, DOT approved $17 million in quick release emergency relief funds - $10 million for New York; $3 million for Rhode Island; and $4 million for North Carolina.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has loaned 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. The fuel, which will be distributed to state, local and federal responders in the New Jersey York and New York 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. Also, 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.
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is meeting FEMA’s requirement for 200,000 gallons of fuel per day and is increasing current fuel stores through the purchase of 12 million gallons of gasoline, and 12 million gallons of diesel. DLA is also filling a 300,000 gallon FEMA order for points of distribution in Egg Harbor, West Orange, and Freehold, NJ; and 200,000 gallons to support three New York/New Jersey airfields. Meanwhile, a DLA vendor has 440,000 gallons of fuel available with 160,000 gallons en route and 100,000 gallons of gasoline on order for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will waive low-income housing tax credit rules that prohibit owners of low-income housing from providing housing to survivors of Hurricane Sandy who do not qualify as low-income. The action will expand the availability of housing for disaster victims and their families. Also, in response to shortages of clear diesel fuel caused by Hurricane Sandy, the IRS will not impose a tax penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway. This relief applies beginning Oct. 30, 2012 in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and will remain in effect through Nov. 20, 2012. Recently IRS 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 National Guard is working at the local, state, and Federal level to assist FEMA in their response to hurricane Sandy. Approximately 7,400 National Guard forces are supporting the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. These forces continue to provide critical assistance to local first-responders and FEMA with damage assessments, route clearance, power generation, fuel distribution, debris reduction and removal, search and rescue, delivery of essential equipment and supplies, support at evacuation shelters/first responder bed-down locations, and the employment of unique engineering capabilities.
U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) delivered 61 power restoration vehicles and 65 technical personnel from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., to Stewart ANGB, N.Y. USTRANSCOM is in the process of delivering 63 power restoration vehicles and 132 technical personnel from Phoenix, Ariz., to Stewart ANGB, N.Y., and is expected to complete this mission today. USTRANSCOM is scheduled to deliver four vehicles and technical personnel from Seattle, Wash., to Stewart ANGB, N.Y., today.
U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine forces are currently anchored near Breezy Point, N.Y., in support of U.S. Coast Guard small boat operations in nearby waterways, recovery efforts in Sandy Hook, N.J., and the resumption of normal transit serves via the Hoboken Ferry terminal. They also have the capability to perform refueling operations and provide forces to the New York and New Jersey area when requested by civil authorities.
The Training Ship (TS) Empire State is in New York and in use with 266 first responders being berthed and fed. The TS Kennedy is en route from Massachusetts and is scheduled to arrive Nov. 5. The Ready Reserve Fleet Vessel SS Wright is en route from Baltimore and is scheduled to arrive on Nov. 4.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has installed 67 generators and has completed 243 assessments. The 249th Prime Power Engineer Battalion is moving all available personnel to support power mission assignments. USACE is currently pumping in five locations in and around New York City and have completed pumping operations at four locations.
The 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.
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.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 850 HHS personnel deployed to provide public health and medical assistance to New York and New Jersey in Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts. At the request of the State of New Jersey, the CDC has established a Federal Medical Station to serve as a medical shelter in Middlesex, New Jersey. This Federal Medical Station in Middlesex will be staffed by medical providers from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Disaster Medical System. Also, fourteen Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) from the National Disaster Medical System with caches of medical supplies and two teams of U.S. Public Health Service commissioned corps officers are deployed to New York and New Jersey. Four liaisons and 350 ambulances remain deployed to New York. All of the ambulances were made available through the FEMA national ambulance contract. An HHS team of mental health experts is integrated with the HHS medical teams, and an HHS Incident Response Coordination Team in New York and New Jersey continues to provide command-and-control to HHS teams requested in that state.
The HHS Administration for Children and Families is deploying a team of specialists to support child care and Head Start recovery efforts in New York City. Following Secretary Sibelius’ declaration of public health emergencies in New York and New Jersey, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has begun approving waivers under 1135 of the Social Security Act for healthcare providers in New York and New Jersey, as well as five individual waivers. Additional waiver requests have been received and are pending.
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.
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