The following message is being sent on behalf of the Deputy Administrator.
It’s been another busy day here in New York and New Jersey.
This morning, the Administrator and I met with Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, County Executives, and other local officials, to discuss the ongoing efforts in New York and the challenges to come. Then, we participated in a call with the President and members of the federal response team, including Secretary Napolitano, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security John Brennan, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco. Later, the Administrator also visited some of hardest hit areas in New York including Breezy Point, where dozens of home were destroyed by a massive fire. And earlier this afternoon, I went to the New Jersey Emergency Operations Center to meet with the FCO Mike Hall, and state officials. The Secretary was also in New Jersey today and met with Governor Christie, Members of Congress and state and local officials to discuss response and recovery efforts there.
In all of these meetings, we discussed the path ahead and how we would work together, as a team, to ensure that we are doing everything possible to help disaster survivors in New York, New Jersey, and the other states affected by Hurricane Sandy. This has been a challenging disaster. As the Administrator recently mentioned, this was our first time seeing a snow storm in the middle of a hurricane. And yesterday, I saw streets covered in 3 feet of sand and survivors using anything they could find, including sleds, to shovel it out. It has required all of us to be flexible and focused in the face of extraordinary circumstances.
Each day, we see more and more progress. We now have distributed nearly $160 million in assistance to survivors, and in New York City schools will reopen tomorrow. But as I have mentioned in earlier email updates, there are still many challenges that the survivors face. There are thousands of families still without power, and there are many who will need housing assistance for several months as they rebuild and recover from the storm. And in the coming days, temperatures are forecasted to drop below freezing in New York, New Jersey, and other areas of the Mid-Atlantic and North East. So we need to keep leaning forward and focused on the needs of survivors.
Thank you, again, for all of your efforts. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you in the weeks and months ahead. This will be a long recovery process. But as the President has said, we are committed to standing with the disaster survivors for as long as it will take for them to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, left, greets workers at the Hoboken electrical substation. Restoration of power to communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy remains a high priority. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA