Monday, September 6, 2021



On September 1st, Remnants of Tropical Storm Ida Deluged New York City, Long Island, and Hudson Valley Regions, Killing New Yorkers, Damaging Homes, Businesses, Subways And Roads With Record-Breaking Rainfall & Dangerous Flooding

Senators Say FEMA Disaster Declaration Would Unlock Federal Funds For Impacted Communities In Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster & Westchester Counties 

Senators To FEMA: Mobilize Disaster Assessment Teams & Stand Ready To Approve Any Requested Aid For New York Counties and Residents  

 U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to approve any request from New York City and State for a major disaster declaration following the severe flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida that rampaged through the New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley regions on September 1st. The senators specifically referenced New York City as being particularly battered by the storm, getting a record 3.15 inches of rain in Central Park over the course of just one hour and over 10 inches of rain falling in various communities.

In the evening on September 1st, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a State of Emergency in New York State within the counties of Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester in response to major flooding due to Tropical Depression Ida. Schumer and Gillibrand requested that FEMA actively prepare to issue a disaster declaration for the storm-ravaged New York City, Long Island and Hudson Valley communities, and additionally, to be prepared to participate in a Preliminary Damage Assessment with state and local officials, should the state request it.

If a disaster declaration is declared, grant assistance would be made available to state and local governments, as well as certain non-profit organizations, to reimburse costs incurred for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities. This funding is available on a cost-sharing basis; FEMA generally covers 75 percent of the eligible costs for permanent and emergency work.  After any severe storm, the first step in the declaration process is for the state to request a Preliminary Damage Assessment, during which FEMA representatives join state, local, and other officials to survey damage across storm-impacted counties to help determine whether the cost of the disaster meets the criteria for a federal disaster declaration. Schumer and Gillibrand urged FEMA to be prepared to support any requests for aid from New York State.

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act authorizes the president to issue “major disaster” or “emergency” declarations before or after catastrophes occur. The decision to issue a disaster declaration is at the discretion of the president, and must be requested by the governor of the state. These declarations unlock federal aid through FEMA that is broken into two broad areas: Individual Assistance (IA) that aids families and individuals, and Public Assistance (PA) that is mainly for emergency work such as debris removal and permanent repairs to infrastructure. When assessing the degree of PA damage, FEMA considers six factors: estimated cost of the assistance, localized impact, insurance coverage, hazard mitigation, recent disaster, and programs of other federal assistance. Regarding the cost, FEMA has certain thresholds that have to be met to qualify for PA specific to the state and the counties in question.

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