NEW YORK – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved two Public Assistance (PA) grants totaling more than $39 million to reimburse the city of Long Beach and Nassau County for 75 percent of their costs for debris removal due to Hurricane Sandy.
$24 million will go to the city of Long Beach; $15 million will be awarded to Nassau County. FEMA does not perform the actual debris removal work; it reimburses the local governments that contract for the eligible work.
Strong winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy brought down trees, tree limbs and power lines throughout Nassau County. Within the city of Long Beach, heavy rains and a six foot storm surge deposited more than 330,000 cubic yards of debris, 400,000 cubic yards of sand and 2,550 cubic yards of vegetative debris throughout the city.
Collecting and clearing out piles of debris has been one of the most difficult and time-consuming challenges of the recovery. Through hard work and persistence over the past month, debris piles are dwindling and, in many cases, disappearing altogether. The FEMA PA program reimburses state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations 75 percent of eligible debris removal costs. In order to qualify, damage must be a direct result of Hurricane Sandy.
“FEMA is committed to getting people back into their homes” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael F. Byrne. “A critical step is clearing debris out of the way so the recovery can progress. We will continue to work alongside our partners in New York state and local government until the job is finished.”
Under FEMA’s PA program, FEMA obligates funds to the state for, at a minimum, 75 percent of eligible costs. The remaining 25 percent is covered provided by non-federal funds. The state forwards the federal funds to the eligible local governments or organizations that incurred costs.
For debris removal to be eligible, the work must be necessary to:
- Eliminate an immediate threat to lives, public health and safety,
- Eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public and private property when the measures are cost effective, or
- Ensure the economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community-at-large.