More than $368 million in Individual Assistance Approved for Disaster Survivors
WASHINGTON -- At the direction of President Barack 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. The Administration’s top priority is to continue supporting the governors, tribal leaders and communities in impacted states, as response efforts continue. Coordinating through FEMA, the Administration remains committed to bringing the resources of the federal family.
As FEMA and its federal partners continue to work with the states in support of their recovery efforts, the top priority is providing access to shelter for residents whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed by the storm.
Many voluntary agencies continue to provide services to Hurricane Sandy survivors, including providing shelter, meals, and clean up supplies. The Red Cross and other organizations continue to support more than 119 shelters across 3 states supporting more than 5,700 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. State and local governments also continue to operate warming stations. For more information, contact your local officials or further information can be found on websites including: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/ ; http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/warming_ctr.html; http://nj.gov/nj/home/features/spotlight/hurricane_sandy.shtml; http://nj211.org/hurricane.cfm and www.ct.gov/sandy.
FEMA is one part of a large team that is working together to support the states of New York and New Jersey in meeting longer-term housing needs of disaster survivors. As extensive work continues to restore power, open roadways and remove debris so that homes can begin to be repaired or rebuilt the affected states are taking the lead to identify their needs and resources by convening State-led Disaster Housing Task Forces. The Task Forces in New York and New Jersey involve a collaborative approach to addressing the temporary housing and long-term needs of the disaster survivors, including the collection of available rental resources, projecting housing needs and exploring other options. The Task Force is comprised of the state, local, voluntary agencies, and federal partners including FEMA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Small Business Administration (SBA), Veterans Affairs and the US Department of Agriculture. Working together, the team will support the state as they establish housing priorities; seek ways to make the greatest use of existing housing resources, such as apartments and rental units; enlist voluntary agencies to make minor repairs so survivors can remain in their homes; and investigate other temporary housing options suitable for the area.
"FEMA is providing Transitional Housing Assistance in the form of short-term hotel and motel lodging. FEMA can also provide financial assistance which may include temporary housing and home repairs," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Survivors and small businesses are encouraged to register by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), via mobile devices at m.fema.gov or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. 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. Disaster Recovery Centers are open in affected communities which provide an opportunity to meet face-to-face with representatives to address questions."
FEMA has more than 5,800 FEMA personnel deployed to support response and recovery operations and is actively taking registration information through our 24 hour call centers. As of 3 p.m., more than 343,000 individuals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have registered for assistance, and more than $368 million has been approved in FEMA Assistance. Currently, a total of 40 Disaster Recovery Centers are open in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Of that amount, 21 Disaster Recovery Centers are open in New York, 12 in New Jersey and seven in Connecticut and more continue to open. 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. You may also text DRC and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA).
Many residents may be asking themselves what's next after they register for FEMA assistance. During registration, applicants will be given a personal number that should be kept handy for future use. Often times, a housing inspection is needed and one of the 1,975 FEMA Housing Inspectors on the ground will make contact to schedule an appointment to come see the damaged property if it is accessible. Appointments generally take 30-40 minutes and include an inspection of damaged areas of your home and review of your records. There is no fee for the inspection and inspectors always have proper identification.
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. FEMA continues to deliver commodities including food, water, blankets, generators and others resources to distribution points across the region impacted by Sandy.
In addition, a snapshot of some of the federal activities that are being coordinated:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that businesses with physical damages or loss of revenue should consider visiting a Business Recover Center and applying for an SBA disaster business loan. The SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private non-profit organizations, to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage. SBA continues to operate several Business Recovery Centers in New York and New Jersey. For more information, call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or go to www.sba.gov.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced special relief intended to support leave-based donation programs to aid survivors who have suffered from the extraordinary destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. Under these programs, employees may donate their vacation, sick or personal leave in exchange for employer cash payments made to qualified tax-exempt organizations providing relief for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy. Also, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced an expedited review and approval process will be offered for organizations seeking tax-exempt status in order to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The IRS continues to encourage people to use existing organizations currently working on immediate aid efforts.
The Department of Defense (DoD) is a fully integrated partner in the federal, state, tribal, and local response to Hurricane Sandy and the northeaster that swept through the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States.
U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) has nearly 4,000 personnel supporting Hurricane Sandy relief operations in the affected area.
Air Force teams completed unwatering (removing water) operations at Rockaway Waste Water Treatment facility, and East School in Long Beach, N.Y., and provided teams to support fire departments conducting unwatering operations in Breezy Point, N.Y. Army divers repaired the pier system at Caven Point, N.J. Also, divers continue to assist the New York City Fire Department unwater the PATH Tunnel at the World Trade Center and unwater the Long Beach High School and Recreation Center. Navy dive detachments continue to support the World Trade Center site and Marine pump teams are assisting pumping operations at Breezy Point. Helicopters from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are transporting and re-locating generators in affected areas to support critical infrastructure. Navy Seabees and Marine personnel restored the beach at Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook and continue supporting debris clearance operations at locations in Bayonne, N.J. and the Battery, N.Y.
The Defense Logistics Agency continues to supply FEMA with much needed emergency supplies, medical equipment, fuel and now cold and wet weather clothing to help those working toward recovery after Hurricane Sandy. DLA has delivered more than 1.8 million gallons of fuel to federal government distribution points in the New York/New Jersey region. DLA delivered nine generators to the Army Corps of Engineers to power apartment buildings in New York City. Seven more generators and seven transformers are en route. They also provided seven additional generators to the New York City Housing Authority. DLA has contracts in place to support waste water clean-up, hazardous material removal, and debris removal operations. DLA has also awarded two contracts for 330 roll-off dumpsters and 34 trucks for overland trash hauling. 2.5 million pounds of debris have been removed in the last 48 hours.
The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has more than 3000 employees from the North Atlantic Division with an additional 900 team members deployed from other USACE divisions across the Nation engaged to support the response mission. Response teams are assisting with debris management, commodities distribution, infrastructure assessment, temporary roofing, critical public facilities, water planning, and temporary housing. USACE debris teams are in ports, waterways and coastal areas in NJ and NY clearing debris along the Atlantic seaboard. Also, the USACE is currently pumping at the Jersey City PATH Train Tunnel, Passaic Valley Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Kearny Amtrak Substation. Nearly 495 critical power assessments have been completed. 99 generators have been installed in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Installation of 44 more generators are in progress. USACE continues to receive prioritized lists of requirements from local officials and is immediately acting on these requests.
The U.S. Fleet Forces (Navy & Marine Corps) are assisting the Army Corps of Engineers in their power restoration, cleaning and dewatering efforts in NY and NJ.
The National Guard continues to work to expedite recovery efforts. More than 6,600 Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 12 states are conducting food and water, fuel distribution, communications, security, sheltering, debris removal and transportation missions in support of recovery efforts.
The United State Postal Service (USPS) wants to remind customers who have evacuated or relocated due to hurricane Sandy to submit a change of address, place mail on hold or request that mail be temporarily forwarded to their new location. For the latest service updates regarding hurricane Sandy, call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has distributed an initial $5.3 million to 11 states affected by Hurricane Sandy. NRCS provides this funding through its Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is allowing flexibility to New York City Public School District to serve all meals free through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for the month of November. FNS has also approved New Jersey's request to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP- formerly Food Stamps) recipients that reside in Atlantic County, Bergen County, Cape May County, Essex County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Somerset County and Union County,( all of which have received individual assistance declarations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to be allowed to purchase hot foods and hot food products with SNAP benefits through the end of the month.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has 1008 national service members who have been deployed to seven states. AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are assisting with shelter operations, call centers, debris removal, and mass care. About 435 members of FEMA Corps, an innovative partnership between FEMA and AmeriCorps, are working directly with disaster survivors in New York and New Jersey.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more than 1,100 HHS personnel deployed to provide public health and medical assistance to New York and New Jersey. These personnel include behavioral health professionals from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps supporting shelter operations. Nearly 60 officers from three Mental Health Teams have assisted approximately 700 residents and first responders a day, helping address basic mental health issues and facilitating environmental interventions in shelters such as ensuring that lights were off or low in a shelter at a sufficient time for people to sleep, arranging structured activities for children and adults, limiting access to sugary/caffeinated items by children after supper so that they are better able to sleep. These types of basic issues are increase people’s resilience in difficult circumstances.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reminds consumers to take precautions for storing water and ensuring the safety of their food and medical supplies for themselves, their families, and their pets during and after any hurricane-related rain, possible flooding and power outages. For food and drug safety messaging, visit the Food and Drug Administration hurricane safety checklist, available in English and Spanish (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm317232.htm).
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) mobilized resources to speed storm recovery on Federal and tribal lands in the impacted region and to support FEMA in its efforts to assist states and local governments in the disaster area, including nearly 700 DOI employees conducting response and recovery missions and at least an equal number are committed to disaster recovery work in at their home locations. More than 1,200 wildland firefighters from all agencies, including about 260 wildland firefighters from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park service are responding with fellow wildland firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and State Forestry Divisions to support FEMA staging areas, assist in emergency operations centers, and provide crews to clear trees for emergency access and power crews.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is leading a Tribal Assistance Coordination Group, enhancing communications and coordination between Native American Tribes in the disaster area, other Federal agencies including FEMA, and non-profit relief organizations.
The National Park Service (NPS) has deployed more than 300 incident management personnel, technical experts and work crews to assist almost 650 personnel at parks throughout the region in recovery operations. Working with interagency partners, NPS has also established a debris transfer site at Jacob Riis Park in New York to support local clean-up activities and is providing feeding for emergency workers in the vicinity of its logistics base at Fort Wadsworth in the Gateway National Recreation Area.
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.