More than $411 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 remains supporting states, tribes and communities, as response efforts continue.
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.
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) continues to aggressively support a de-watering mission at the direction of FEMA. Teams remain in place at critical areas in New Jersey and New York and pumping operations in 12 of the 14 critical locations as identified by local officials has been completed. The pumping in the Jersey City PATH Train Tunnel and Passaic Valley Waste Water Treatment Plant are estimated to be completed this weekend. Additional USACE teams are in both New Jersey and New York clearing debris and providing technical assistance personnel to support emergency power operations.
FEMA is one part of a large team that is working together to support the states in meeting 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, individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut 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 24 hours a day, 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’s focus remains on helping the survivors of Hurricane Sandy in a number of different ways," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “In addition to registering for disaster assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362), Disaster Unemployment Assistance and free legal services are also now available to eligible survivors in New Jersey and New York.”
Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance has been activated for both New Jersey and New York for those whose jobs were impacted by the hurricane in counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance. This may include people not normally eligible for unemployment benefits such as the self-employed and those unable to provide their services because of Hurricane Sandy. Free legal services are also available. This includes legal advice, counseling and representation, may be provided to low-income disaster victims through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association. Services typically provided include assistance with insurance claims (life, medical, property); counseling on landlord/tenant problems; assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures; and replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in a major disaster.
As of 3 p.m., more than 356,000 individuals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have registered for assistance, and more than $411 million has been approved in FEMA housing and other needs assistance. Currently 44 Disaster Recovery Centers are open in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Of that amount, 21 Disaster Recovery Centers are open in New York, 16 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).
FEMA has more than 6,600 FEMA personnel deployed to support response and recovery operations and is actively taking registration information through our 24 hour call centers. 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 1,987 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. As of November 10, the SBA has issued 248,094 disaster loan applications to residents and businesses in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. That includes 196,822 home disaster loan applications, and 51,272 business disaster loan applications. SBA continues to operate 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 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. 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 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 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, the 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 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 960 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 has established Recovery Field Offices in New York and New Jersey to support FEMA and recovery operations.
The National Guard continues to work to expedite recovery efforts. More than 6,200 Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 11 states are conducting food, water, and fuel distribution, communications, security, sheltering, debris removal and transportation missions in support of recovery efforts.
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 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. 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.