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 remains supporting states, tribes and communities, as response efforts continue.
“Today, we pay tribute to the courage, sacrifice, and dedication of our veterans,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “We also salute the thousands of veterans supporting Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts including the more than 12,000 active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel who have been a part of response operations.”
The federal family continues to work to assist with power restorations and to address fuel shortages. The 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 remain committed to supporting state and local governments in these efforts. The federal government has provided hundreds of generators and millions of gallons of fuel to help critical infrastructure sites and fuel stations operate until full power is restored.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has also executed an essential de-watering mission at the direction of FEMA. Flood waters have been removed from all 14 critical infrastructure locations in New Jersey and New York as identified by local officials. Locations included the Jersey City PATH Train Tunnel, Brooklyn Battery, and the World Trade Center. Maintenance pumping continues throughout the affected areas. Additional USACE teams are clearing debris and providing technical assistance personnel to support emergency power operations.
As FEMA and its partners continue an aggressive power restoration effort, the President has approved an extension to the 100 percent cost share for emergency work performed by state, tribal and local governments through November 14, 2012. The 100 percent funding was set originally to last ten days, starting October 31 and specifically applies to work executed to restore emergency power and emergency public transportation assistance, including direct federal assistance for New Jersey, New York and Connecticut counties designated for FEMA Public Assistance. Other forms of Category B (emergency work) public assistance remain at a 75 percent cost share.
For the State of New York, four additional counties have been designated for federal disaster assistance to help households and businesses recover. Individuals and businesses in Ulster, Sullivan, Orange and Putnam counties are eligible for assistance. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Counties previously designated for individual assistance in New York include Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester. For New Jersey, individuals and businesses in all 21 counties can apply for federal assistance.
"Survivors of Hurricane Sandy are continuing to receive assistance from FEMA, our federal, state and local partners, voluntary agencies, faith organizations and the private sector," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Impacted residents and business owners in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are encouraged to apply for federal assistance and visit one of our Disaster Recovery Centers to meet face-to-face with a recovery specialist.”
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut can apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), register by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or apply 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. The toll-free telephone numbers are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.
As of 3 p.m., more than 382,000 individuals in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have registered for assistance. More than $499 million has been approved in FEMA housing and other needs assistance and the SBA has issued 262,668 disaster loan applications to residents and businesses.
When survivors apply for individual disaster assistance through FEMA, their needs are assessed based on a number of factors, including eligibility requirements laid out under federal law. Sometimes people do not qualify for assistance right away and may receive a denial letter in the mail stating "ineligible." Receiving a denial letter does not necessarily mean an applicant is not eligible for disaster aid and can be an indication that further information is needed, or that the applicant’s insurance claim needs to be settled first. The letter will specifically explain why an application needs to be revisited and might ask for insurance settlement documentation for property damaged or destroyed, documents reflecting proof of occupancy or ownership of the damaged property, or you may need to return the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application.
After registering, most residents and business owners will receive an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the SBA. These loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of any size and private, nonprofit organizations for their uncompensated disaster-damaged property. Filling out the SBA loan application is a necessary step for homeowners and renters to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance. Homeowners approved may borrow up to $200,000 to repair/replace primary residences if not fully compensated by insurance or some other source. If the SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA for some other type of disaster aid in the form of a grant to repair or replace destroyed personal items, such as clothing and vehicles.
Survivors who have questions about available assistance are encouraged to visit one of the 60 Disaster Recovery Centers open in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Of that amount, 30 Disaster Recovery Centers are open in New York, 23 in New Jersey and seven in Connecticut and more continue to open. To date, more than 18,000 survivors have visited disaster recovery centers in affected areas to meet with recovery specialist including representatives from both FEMA and the SBA. To find a disaster recovery center location, check out the disaster recovery center locator at www.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).
More than 7,700 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 who has mobilized hundreds of staff from various federal agencies to support community relations and operational activities. More than 2,040 housing inspectors are on the ground, meeting with disaster survivors to identify damages to homes, to further expedite assistance to individuals; and more than 90,000 damage inspections have already been completed in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
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, fuel, 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) has an electronic loan application (ELA) for homeowners, renters and businesses to apply for a disaster loan for Hurricane Sandy damages. ELA provides a convenient alternative to visiting a Disaster Recovery Center or mailing in a paper loan application. The online program checks for errors, prompts for more information when needed and provides a quicker decision than the hand-written applications. Visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela to apply online. The SBA also 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. In addition to SBA staff in each Disaster Recovery Center, SBA continues to open and staff Business Recovery Centers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has more than 3,000 employees from the North Atlantic Division with an additional 990 team members deployed from other USACE divisions across the Nation engaged to support the response mission. Through a partnership of private industry professionals and federal agencies, USACE has removed flood waters from several FEMA mission-assigned locations in New York and New Jersey. In total, the FEMA assigned joint dewatering mission has drained over 470 million gallons of water from the metro area.
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. 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 has delivered more than 2.3 million gallons of fuel to federal government distribution points in the New York/New Jersey region. DLA delivered generators to the Army Corps of Engineers to power apartment buildings in New York City. They have also provided 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.
The National Guard continues to work to expedite recovery efforts. A total of 5,095 National Guard members from 11 states are conducting food, water, and fuel distribution, communications, security, sheltering, debris removal and transportation missions in support of recovery efforts.
Civil Air Patrol is launching aircraft from states along the Northeast seaboard to photograph hurricane damage in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and to conduct low-level missions over waterways that would correspond to varying tidal conditions to pinpoint oil spills and navigation hazards for the U.S. Coast Guard. These flyovers, involving aircraft from as far away as Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina, are assisting federal agencies to assess where to most-effectively deploy debris teams.
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.
American Red Cross outreach operations continue to provide disaster relief services and items across Long Island, Staten Island, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Far Rockaway’s in New York and Hoboken, New Jersey. There are currently 5,770 Red Cross disaster responders supporting operations in the affected States. 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.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-832-5660 to address questions of motor carrier drivers and operators providing direct emergency relief related to Hurricane Sandy on individual registration, certification, tax, or other barriers to the flow of fuel transportation to affected states. The DOT’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) continues to work with FEMA and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to secure buses which are being used in New Jersey to help commuters connect to or reach Manhattan and the surrounding area. The buses will supplement NJ Transit commuter rail and PATH rail lines where service is not yet restored.
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 disaster medical assistance teams (DMATs). DMATs are a group of professional medical personnel organized to provide rapid-response medical care. To read more about DMAT teams active in the Hurricane Sandy response visit: www.phe.gov/asprblog. At the request of the State of New Jersey, a Federal Medical Station continues to serve as a medical shelter at Middlesex Community College in Edison, New Jersey. At the request of the state of New York, equipment from a Federal Medical Station is also in use in a New York City hospital. The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps also continues to support 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 shelter. Residents can connect with local crisis counselors through the National Disaster Distress Helpline. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746).
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 Energy (DOE) in response to a request from the State of Connecticut, DOE will be loaning an additional 4.2 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), to provide emergency loans to fuel distributors in Connecticut to address fuel shortages in the state. This is a continuation of the agreement announced a week ago when President Obama declared that Hurricane Sandy has created a severe energy supply interruption. The fuel will then be provided to fuel distributors in the state and will be repaid in the next 30 days by the distributors directly. DOE and DLA stand ready to make available additional fuel as needed.
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.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has more than 1000 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. More than 430 members of FEMA Corps, an innovative partnership between FEMA and AmeriCorps, are working directly with disaster survivors in New York and New Jersey.
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 designated areas to be allowed to purchase hot foods and hot food products with SNAP benefits through the end of the month.
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.