One Week after Hurricane Sandy More than $210 million Approved in Individual Assistance
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 members of his Cabinet, state and local officials from affected areas, and other senior members of his team to receive a briefing on ongoing response and recovery efforts.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today traveled to Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, N.Y., to meet with state and local officials including Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Bob Turner and Jerrold Nadler, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and review ongoing response and recovery efforts.
This morning, Secretary Napolitano authorized the Interim Final Rule under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, to enhance and expedite debris removal. Under the Rule, FEMA is authorized to reimburse state and local governments who are Public Assistance applicants for the salaries and benefits of employees who are involved in debris and wreckage removal cleanup efforts for any major disaster or emergency declared by the President on or after Oct. 27, 2012, in response to Hurricane Sandy for up to 30 days.
To expand the availability of housing for disaster survivors, both the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are waiving low-income housing tax credit rules that prohibit owners of low-income housing from providing housing to survivors of Hurricane Sandy who would not typically qualify for low-income housing.
"FEMA is expediting assistance to survivors, with an eye to long term recovery,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “More than $210 million has already been approved for individuals to assist with housing and other disaster-related needs. Impacted residents and business owners in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York 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.”
FEMA and its federal partners, through our National Response Coordination Center in Washington, continue to closely monitor the developing weather conditions and remain in close contact with state emergency management partners in potentially affected states along the East Coast to ensure coordination for any emergency response.
As of 3 p.m., more than 234,000 individuals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have registered for assistance, and more than $210 million has been approved in FEMA Assistance. Disaster Recovery Centers continue to open in the hardest hit areas. Twelve 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. 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.
"Families who may have been forced from their homes need to know that help is available to begin the rebuilding process," said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Shaun Donovan. "Whether it’s foreclosure relief for families with FHA-insured loans or helping these counties to recover, HUD stands ready to help in any way we can."
HUD continues to coordinate with FEMA and affected states to identify housing providers who may have available housing units, including public housing agencies and multi-family owners. The President's major disaster declarations for Connecticut, New York and New Jersey allow HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to qualifying families in the designated counties. HUD has granted a 90-day moratorium on qualifying foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages.
In support of New York and New Jersey, FEMA has transferred resources such as food, water, and fuel to the states 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 office for more information. Local officials are sharing information and available resources on public websites. Publicly available links, maintained by state and local governments, for areas affected by Sandy include: http://www.nyc.gov/html/index.html; www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/foodandwater.html; http://nj211.org/hurricane.cfm; http://statenislandusa.com/; http://www.governor.ct.gov and http://www.governor.wv.gov/Pages/StormUpdate.aspx.
More than 5,100 FEMA personnel have been deployed 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 1,800 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, New Jersey, and Rhode Island 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.
FEMA is urging residents to be safe as cold weather temperatures threaten areas impacted by the Hurricane Sandy. The risk of fires increases with the use of supplemental heating, such as space heaters and any fuel-burning appliances in the home, including furnaces and fireplaces, are a potential carbon monoxide source. Ensure both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working and if using a generator keep it as far away from your home as possible – away from doors, windows or vents that could allow deadly carbon monoxide into the home. For further information regarding these safety tips or other post hurricane safety recommendations, visit www.fema.gov or www.ready.gov.
In addition, the following federal activities are also being coordinated:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has two Business Recovery Centers (one in Manahawkin, NJ, and one in Brooklyn, NY) 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 936 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 445 members of FEMA Corps, an innovative partnership between FEMA and AmeriCorps.
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. Also, the Hurricane Sandy Pollution Response Unified Command is responding to numerous areas throughout New York and New Jersey with environmental threats caused by Hurricane Sandy. Responders with the unified command are assessing affected areas and environmentally sensitive areas for pollution and hazardous materials. The assessments will be used to appropriately respond to the identified areas of pollution. The unified command has created branches, divisions and task forces to safely and efficiently respond to these impacted areas.
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 non-road 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.
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, to date. 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 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 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 1,000 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, HHS yesterday established a Federal Medical Station (FMS) to serve as a medical shelter in Middlesex, New Jersey. Medical teams from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Disaster Medical System are providing medical caring for residents at the FMS. Fifteen Disaster Medical Assistance Teams 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 to provide care in medical shelters and augment hospital staff the states’ and city’s request. In addition, a team of specialists from the Administration for Children and Families is supporting child care and Head Start recovery efforts in New York and New Jersey. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration personnel will assist the states of New York and New Jersey in assessing FDA-regulated industries. Following the Secretary’s declarations of public health emergencies in New York and New Jersey, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services continues to approve waivers under 1135 of the Social Security Act for healthcare providers in New York and New Jersey. Four liaisons and 350 ambulances remain deployed to New York, 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. ASPR Regional Emergency Coordinators and liaisons from the Administration for Children and Families remain deployed to the Regional Response Coordination Centers. Regional Emergency Coordinators also are serving as liaisons for FEMA incident management assistance teams.
U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel are on site today processing 161 expected international flights with approximately 31,500 passengers at JFK and 92 expected international flights with approximately 14,500 passengers at Newark International Airport. To facilitate the flow of goods into the New York area, CBP officers conducted cargo container inspections this morning at the Port of New York/Newark for the first time since Hurricane Sandy battered the New York/New Jersey area.
U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to work closely with FEMA on disaster recovery efforts. As of this morning, ten Forest Service incident management teams and 45 wildfire suppression crews, a total of approximately 1,200 personnel, are staged in or en route to impacted communities in four states. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approved New York's request to provide USDA Foods to households impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Approximately 1.1 million pounds of household size USDA Foods, will be distributed to households through a thousand designated emergency feeding outlets. USDA Animal Care is assisting in animal response operations, including pet sheltering, pet food distribution, and animal rescue operations, are ongoing in NYC and on Long Island.
Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan encouraged colleges, universities and scholarship programs across the country to consider extending their early November application deadlines to accommodate students who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy and who may be experiencing unexpected hardships.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and pursuant to FCC authority, waived rules for good cause and to alleviate any additional burden that may be caused by our filing requirements and regulatory deadlines, we hereby extend certain deadlines occurring between October 27, 2012 and November 2, 2012, until November 5, 2012 for all Wireless Radio Service licensees and applicants.
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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