Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Urge President Obama, FEMA to Provide Individual Assistance to Oneida County After Lee

Sep 30, 2011

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called on President Barack Obama and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to immediately approve individual assistance for Oneida County residents in the wake of Tropical Storm Lee. Residents along Sauqoit Creek sustained substantial damage to their homes, losing furnaces and other essential equipment just as cold weather begins to set in.  Individual assistance exists to help provide housing and aid in rebuilding efforts.

“I visited Oneida County after Tropical Storm Lee, and the damage was simply unimaginable,” said Schumer. “Front laws were stacked high with precious family memories, furniture, and other belongings – all of which must be thrown away. Homeowners and small business owners are going to have an uphill climb to rebuild, so its essential that they have FEMA standing right behind them. I’m going to push as hard as I can to bring this assistance to Oneida county as quickly as possible.”

“Families and businesses in Oneida County are in dire need of help to dig out from this devastating storm, and begin to recover,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Roads, bridges, homes and businesses are being washed away from massive flooding. Now it’s time to put all necessary resources on the ground where we need them. I will fight to secure all the federal funding our families need.”

Oneida County has not yet been issued Individual Assistance for citizens who suffered losses, which includes the Individual and Households program, disaster unemployment insurance, and Small Business Administration loans.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s full letter to President Obama and Administrator Fugate: 

Dear President Obama and Administrator Fugate, 

            We write to express our strong support for the additional designation of Oneida and Orange County for Individual Assistance and Ulster County for Public Assistance under Tropical Storm Lee (DR-4031).  This declaration has already begun to aid thousands of individuals in other effective counties, and extending this assistance to these additional counties would provide essential help to these areas as they seek to rebuild.  

            All three of these counties were hit hard by heavy rain and flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Lee and sustained substantial costs responding to the storms.  In Oneida County, many residents along Sauqoit Creek sustained substantial damage to their homes, losing furnaces and other essential equipment just as cold weather begins to set in.  In Ulster County, streams and creeks such as the Wallkill and the Esopus, already overflowing from the rains of Hurricane Irene caused further flooding that significantly damaged public infrastructure, along with significant damage along the Bushkill Creek to Watson Hollow Road in West Shokan.  Homes in Washingtonville in Orange County were evacuated and severely damaged due to additional flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee.

            We appreciate your continued efforts to ensure that New York residents and communities have the resources they need to recover from Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene.   Should you have any questions, please contact Grant Kerr at 202-224-6542 or Kevin Fink at 202-224-4451.