Earlier this morning, President Barack Obama signed official directives naming the states of New York and New Jersey disaster zones, allowing for additional federal aid to assist recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. In New York, Mr. Obama’s order only stands for the five boroughs and Long Island for now.
It’s still difficult to evaluate the exact costs of the storm. At least seven people have died in the state, millions are without electricity, and major transportation networks are flooded.
The order follows the president signing a declaration of emergency in the state before the storm.
Read Mr. Obama’s disaster announcement below:
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of New York and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts due to Hurricane Sandy beginning on October 27, 2012, and continuing.
The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk, and Queens.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk, and Queens.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Michael F. Byrne as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.
FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.