FEMA Helping Survivors and Communities Rebuild
WASHINGTON – On the evening of October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey, with impacts felt across 24 states. The storm battered the East Coast, particularly the densely-populated New York and New Jersey coasts, with heavy rain, strong winds, and record storm surges. In Sandy’s immediate aftermath, more than 23,000 people sought refuge in temporary shelters, and more than 8.5 million customers lost power. The storm flooded numerous roads and tunnels, blocked transportation corridors, and deposited extensive debris along the coastline.
At the direction of President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners are worked closely with disaster survivors to ensure they received all the assistance for which they are eligible under the law. Over the course of the year, more than $1.4 billion in Individual Assistance has been provided to more than 182,000 survivors, and an additional $2.4 billion in low-interest disaster loans have been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration. More than $7.9 billion in National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) payments have been made to policy holders.
Over the last twelve-months, more than 11,900 grants totaling over $3.2 billion have been approved for emergency work, to remove debris and rebuild or replace public infrastructure in the hardest hit areas. This includes more than $1.3 billion for first responder costs for personnel overtime, materials and equipment used to save lives and protect property; more than $400 million obligated toward repairs to storm damaged homes so that disaster survivors could safely remain in their homes; and more than $19 million toward the costs to repair storm flooded and damaged schools. FEMA has been working in concert and integrating with all levels of government, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, communities and individuals to provide a whole community approach to recovery and leverage the capabilities of the entire nation.
While supporting disaster survivors and communities on their road to recovery, FEMA has been aggressive in its implementation of new authorities granted in the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 (SRIA). In many ways, the passage of SRIA represents the most significant legislative change to the FEMA’s substantive authorities since the enactment of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The changes have nationwide impact and provide greater flexibility to state, local, tribal and territorial governments, allow FEMA to operate more effectively and efficiently, and provide tribal nations options for seeking emergency and disaster declarations for their tribes. To date, 13 of the 17 provisions outlined in this legislation have been completed, implemented via a pilot program, or are otherwise immediately available.
FEMA is encouraging everyone to take steps to become better prepared for an emergency, whether or not the event occurs while they are at home, at work, at school, or in the community. For more information on preparing for severe weather events and other disasters, visit www.Ready.gov or www.listo.gov on the Internet. Information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster can also be found at m.fema.gov or by downloading the FEMA app from your smartphone’s app store.
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.
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