WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Governor’s Press Office. September 5, 2021 3:30 PM EDT:
Following her visits to communities impacted by flooding from Hurricane Ida, Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a request to President Biden for an expedited Major Disaster Declaration. With Presidential approval, the declaration would deliver individual and public assistance for eligible New Yorkers recovering from the storm’s damage.
Through the declaration request, the Governor is requesting that New Yorkers who have been displaced or suffered damage as a result of the storm, including those who did not have flood insurance, can receive the assistance they need. The Governor also announced the launch of the new online resource hub for impacted New Yorkers, available at ny.gov/ida. The hub provides information on available assistance programs and where to find services such as shelter and access to food. The information on the site will be updated as more resources for New Yorkers become available. Additionally, the State is partnering with New York City to support the Ida Recovery Service Centers. These centers enlisted the support of elected officials who represent impacted communities and will offer information on all available resources and assistance.
Governor Hochul also directed that $378 million in previously-awarded hazard mitigation funding from FEMA be devoted to bolstering New York State’s infrastructure against extreme weather.
“New Yorkers are still recovering from the damage across our downstate communities, and this request I signed and submitted to President Biden can secure the financial resources that are due to New Yorkers who suffered unimaginable devastation as a result of the storm,” Governor Hochul said. “I have seen the heartbreak and pain of these families firsthand, and I pledge not to forget them and to ensure they get the resources they need to recover. Our recovery and support services teams remain on the ground, doubling down on our restoration efforts until New Yorkers are able to stand on their feet again.”
A Major Disaster Declaration would result in financial assistance from the federal government allowing local communities and individual New Yorkers to continue their recovery. Assistance includes funding for emergency protective measures, debris removal and repairs to public buildings and infrastructure, as well as direct support for individuals and homeowners. New Yorkers may also be able to receive funds for other uninsured or under-insured disaster-caused expenses and serious needs, such as repair or replacement of personal property or funds for moving and storage, or medical, dental, and child care. Homeowners and renters should make every effort to document their losses.
If approved, eligible homeowners will work directly with FEMA to obtain funding. Assistance can include funds for temporary housing units, housing and driveway repairs, crisis counseling, unemployment assistance and legal services.
Even as New York’s first responders and emergency management teams remained on the ground assisting local partners with storm response operations, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services deployed specialists to assess damage in order to apply for federal disaster aid. The state remained in constant contact with FEMA and local partners throughout this process to push for an expedited review on the federal side once the preliminary damage assessments were finalized.
As a result of these efforts, in just the first initial days of assessments, state and federal experts have estimated that this storm caused more than $50 million in damage to public infrastructure and property.
Funding to support the restoration of public infrastructure is being sought through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program which provides reimbursement for local governments after a disaster has been declared by the President for activities such as debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair and rebuilding of publicly-owned infrastructure that was damaged including roads, schools, bridges, parks, hospitals, police stations, fire houses, water and waste water treatment facilities and other public facilities.
Additionally, the Governor is requesting federal funding through FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program for 14 Counties. This program provides direct support to individuals and households. Throughout the initial damage assessment process, state, local and federal specialists determined in excess of 1,200 residences suffered damage.
The Governor is encouraging local officials in the impacted counties continue working with their County Emergency Managers to submit any resource needs directly into NY Responds, the state’s web-based system that enables both local governments and state agencies to submit and share vital emergency-related information and resource requests.
At Governor Hochul’s direction, state agencies’ emergency response assets are still on the ground as necessary helping local partners with cleanup and restoration efforts. State and local first responders continue to be fully engaged in supporting local governments in storm response and cleanup operations.
Ongoing Agency Response Activities
Department of Financial Services
The Department of Financial Services Mobile Command Center will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at selected locations in the State of Emergency counties affected by Tropical Depression Ida until the need for its assistance subsides. The mobile units will provide New Yorkers with insurance information regarding policy coverage for losses and suggestions on how to document their losses and safeguard their property. Appointments are not necessary and if a person is unable to come in person they can also get assistance by calling the Department’s Disaster Hotline at 800-339-1759, daily, 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m. and by accessing the Department’s website at https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/help_for_homeowners/disaster_flood.
DFS is currently exploring to identify opportunities to expand the presence of its teams and resources in impacted locations.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
DHSES continues to coordinate with our partner agencies at the local, state and federal level in response efforts. The State Emergency Operations Center is active and remains engaged with state agencies involved in clean-up missions. DHSES teams are on the ground supporting these efforts and will continue to provide additional resources to local governments and county emergency managers throughout the process.
Department of Environmental Conservation
Using drones and other technology, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Police Officers, Forest Rangers, Emergency Management experts, Spill Responders, and additional personnel continue to assess storm impacts in Ida’s wake, including potential damage to wastewater infrastructure, petroleum spills, and the integrity of dams and levees.
DEC reminds New Yorkers that if floodwaters are impacted by petroleum, chemicals, or other hazardous materials, please call DEC’s Spill hotline (1-800-457-7362) https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/87175.html.
Department of Public Service
New York’s utilities have approximately 6,000 workers available to engage in damage assessment, response, repair and restoration efforts across the State. DPS staff continues to track the utilities’ work throughout the storm restoration and will ensure utilities shift the appropriate staffing to the regions impacted the most. Storm restoration focus is concentrated on the downstate regions that were most severely impacted by the storm.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation has over 3,150 workers helping to safely reopen impacted roadways and ensure roads remain safe for all users.
New York State Police
The New York State Police has instructed all Troopers to remain vigilant and closely monitor conditions for any problems. Additional personnel will be deployed to affected areas as needed. All four-wheel drive vehicles and all specialty vehicles, including Utility Terrain Vehicles, are in-service.