September 30, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand, Massa Announce FEMA To Expand Disaster Declaration To Allegany County In Wake Of Severe August Storms – Will Release Funds To Pay For Repairs

Schumer, Gillibrand, Massa: This Aid is Critically Needed to Help Allegany Get Back on its Feet

Today, Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Eric Massa applauded the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for granting aid in the form of Public Assistance to Allegany County after severe summer storms caused significant damage to the area.  Public Assistance provides aid to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work.

"This critical assistance is coming just in time for Allegany County after public infrastructure was severely damaged in one of the wettest New York summers in over a century," said Schumer. "Allegany has sustained major damages and this Public Assistance will help the county get back on its feet."

"This is great news for more Western New York families," Senator Gillibrand said. "Families and businesses here were hit hard by the summer storms. This federal assistance will make sure Allegany County gets the aid it needs to recover."

"I commend Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their hard work along with my office and FEMA in assisting the community officials and volunteers in obtaining emergency funding for those affected by the severe floods of August 8-10. Helping our neighbors in time of need is one of the most important things we can do as citizens and as elected officials and I am pleased to see the release of this critical funding so that the work of rebuilding this devastated area can continue," stated Rep. Eric Massa.

This summer, severe storms ravaged communities and infrastructure throughout New York State resulting in the wettest summer in New York in over 135 years. With soil unable to absorb additional rainwater, raging flood waters severely damaged public infrastructure and debilitated municipal resources. Heavy thunderstorms and severe flooding caused widespread damage across Allegany and across the state: overturning foundations, crippling water and wastewater systems, and rendering main thoroughfares impassable.

Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) show that damage costs more than double the nearly $25 million federal threshold for statewide costs to local and state governments in several counties. As communities begin to pick up the pieces from the devastating effects of this summer's weather, many of the affected local governments simply cannot bear the financial burden on their own. Federal aid in the form of Public Assistance is needed to help these communities recover.

Today, after FEMA expanded the federal disaster declaration to Allegany, Senators Schumer, Gillibrand and Rep. Massa announced that the federal government will issue aid in the form of Public Assistance to cover the costs of emergency work.

Public Assistance would provide aid to the local governments for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities. FEMA will pay for up to 75% of the claimed damages.