Washington, D.C. – As heavy rain and flooding leaves hundreds of upstate New Yorkers in the Mohawk Valley and surrounding communities without shelter or access to food, including many who were already struggling to make ends meet, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are calling on the USDA to implement emergency food resources.
Specifically, the Senators are calling for an extension for replacement Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for 30 days in disaster-affected counties, approval to implement a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) as soon as possible, along with additional resources from the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to counties hit the hardest.
“When disaster strikes, we must step in and assist those who need help the most,” said Senator Schumer. “The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition and Emergency Food Assistance Programs are there to fill the gap as New Yorkers across the Mohawk Valley recover and rebuild after terrible storms, and they must be extended and implemented immediately.”
“Standing by those who are struggling is who we are as Americans,” Senator Gillibrand said. “No one can question the suffering these families are enduring today. I’ve seen it first-hand. We must stand by them with access to healthy meals so they can meet basic needs as we work to clean up and get back on our feet.”
Herkimer, Oneida, Madison and Montgomery Counties have been hit particularly hard by the heavy rainfall of June 27 and June 28. At the height of the storms, over 13,000 New Yorkers were without power, including the entire village of Herkimer, whose power substation was inundated by 10 feet of water. Significant flooding caused by the overflowing of the Mohawk River due to heavy rainfall ravaged 15 counties, forced hundreds to evacuate from their homes, destroyed countless amounts of personal property, and rendered critical infrastructure, such as water treatment plants, power stations, and canal locks inoperable or significantly damaged. In addition to infrastructure, many upstate New Yorkers are suffering. In four of the hardest hit municipalities 44 homes were destroyed, 75 left with major damage, and more than 750 with minor damage. Areas in the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley were also impacted and are in need of aid.
The Senators’ complete letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is attached.