October 05, 2010

As Storm Cleanup Continues, Gillibrand Urges Federal Disaster Declaration For New York City

Gillibrand Calls on FEMA to Support New York’s Request for Federal Disaster Assistance

New York, NY – As cleanup from last month’s massive storm continues, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today urged Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to approve federal aid for New York City and recommend that President Obama issue a formal disaster declaration. Areas in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island were particularly hit hard by two destructive tornadoes and a macroburst that knocked down thousands of trees, destroyed dozens of buildings, and left 14,500 city residents without power.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “I write in strong support of Governor Paterson’s recent request for disaster assistance in response to severe weather in New York City on September 16, 2010.  I urge you to quickly review the Governor’s request and recommend that the President issue a formal disaster declaration which makes available public assistance to assist the City in clean-up costs and individual assistance to help those homeowners affected by the storm.” 

Late last week, Governor Paterson  requested federal disaster assistance for the effected boroughs to help with costs of response, removal of debris, and repairs to damaged  property.  The Governor also asked for loans and disaster housing aid for individual homeowners, renters and businesses in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.  Senator Gillibrand is now calling on the FEMA Administrator to approve New York City’s request, which must then be signed off by President Obama.

The text of the letter from Senator Gillibrand to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is below.

Dear Administrator Fugate,

            I write in strong support of Governor Paterson’s recent request for disaster assistance in response to severe weather in New York City on September 16, 2010.  I urge you to quickly review the Governor’s request and recommend that the President issue a formal disaster declaration which makes available public assistance to assist the City in clean-up costs and individual assistance to help those homeowners affected by the storm. 

            Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn experienced extensive wind and rain damage as a result of the September 16 storm, including winds of over 100 mph, including two confirmed tornado touchdowns in Brooklyn and Queens.  In total, the City had to remove more than 2,500 tons of debris from City parks and streets, repaired 1,200 sidewalks and at least 9,000 residents experienced significant tree damage.  Most tragically, the storm resulted in one fatality from a falling tree.

            A swift disaster declaration will help those affected begin the rebuilding process and support local emergency services which have been strained by a high volume of dangerous weather this year.  I look forward to working with you to ensure that these individuals and families have access to all available assistance as they seek to rebuild.