U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded Schenectady County public assistance to help rebuild and repair infrastructure damaged by Irene. After this type of assistance was not made available in the President’s initial emergency declaration and Schumer toured the damage at Schenectady County Community College, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand called for Schenectady County to be added to the list of eligible counties. The county is now eligible for assistance for debris removal, emergency protective actions, and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities like Schenectady County Community College. Schumer and Gillibrand said that this was an important first step in making sure that Schenectady County gets the help it needs to recover from Irene, and urged FEMA to grant individual assistance to Schenectady County as well so families and businesses in the area also get the assistance they deserve.
“We knew all along that Schenectady County needed help to cope with the devastation left by Irene. Now that FEMA has heeded our call and stepped up to the plate to make the necessary funding available, we can begin the process of helping repair and rebuild local infrastructure damaged in the storm,” said Schumer. “I saw first-hand in Rotterdam and at Schenectady County Community College how extensive the local damage was and pushed hard to make sure Schenectady County got the federal support it deserved.”
“This is great news for families and businesses in Schenectady County in dire need of help to dig out from this devastating storm, and begin to recover,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Now it’s time to put all necessary resources on the ground where we need them to bring relief. I will fight to secure all the federal funding our communities need.”
Hurricane Irene inflicted severe damage on Schenectady County. On Sunday, Schumer visited Schenectady County Community College, where flooding from Irene has caused damage that will cost $1 million to repair. Schumer personally called FEMA Administrator Fugate on Schenectady County Community College’s behalf, urging FEMA to send public assistance to the county to help SCCC recover.
Schumer and Gillibrand continued, “We are pleased that Administrator Fugate agreed with us that the municipalities in Schenectady County as well as the Community College should not be left behind as the recovery moves forward. This public assistance means that the federal government will step in so that the cities, towns and College don’t have to shoulder this burden alone.”
Through the PA Program, FEMA provides Federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and the facilities of certain Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations. The PA Program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.