US: FEMA continues support to Sandy-hit states

Friday, November 02, 2012
FEMA Inspector Richard Martin inspects a basement apartment in Hoboken two days after the residents applied for FEMA assistance. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.
[PHOTO: Liz Roll/FEMA] 
Washington: At the direction of President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to lead the federal government's effort to provide assistance and support to states affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy—ensuring the federal family and its public and private partners continue to provide all available resources to support state, local, territorial and tribal communities in affected areas.  President Obama received updates throughout the day from his team on current response and recovery efforts, and spoke directly with state and local officials from across the affected areas.

In support of an aggressive power restoration effort, the President has approved a 100 percent cost share for ten days, starting October 31, for emergency work performed by state, tribal and local governments to restore emergency power and transportation assistance required to perform this emergency work, including direct federal assistance for New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut counties designated for Public Assistance. Other forms of Category B (emergency work) public assistance remain at a 75 percent cost share.

“FEMA’s priority is to accelerate disaster assistance to the storm survivors,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Impacted residents and business owners in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey can apply for federal assistance by phone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), via mobile devices or online”

Federal urban search and rescue teams continue to support state and local efforts for combined searches of more than 3,300 structures in Queens and 870 structures in Staten Island, and rapid reconnaissance of 9,500 structures in Nassau County, New York.

Notably, at the direction of the President, a national power restoration working group has been established to cut through the red tape, increase federal, state, tribal, local and private sector coordination and restore power to people as quickly as possible and includes DoD, DOT, DOE, USACE and representatives from local law enforcement.  Today, more than 60 power restoration vehicles and crews from private utility companies were airlifted from California to the New York. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deployed the 249th Engineer Battalion Technical Assistance personnel and other technical experts to support emergency temporary power.  The USACE also deployed technical assistance, senior leadership oversight, and are working to identify and deploy additional pumps as priorities are established in coordination with the states. 

Earlier this week the President Obama declared major disasters for Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, making disaster assistance available to those in the heaviest hit areas affected by the storm.
To date, more than 58,000 individuals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have registered for assistance, and more than $5.9 million has been approved. 

More than 2,300 FEMA personnel are reportedly working to support response operations, including search and rescue, situational awareness, communications and logistical support in states affected by the storm.  Community relations teams are on the ground in the hardest hit areas of the Mid-Atlantic going door-to-door to inform disaster survivors about available services and resources and to gather situational awareness.  Hundreds of housing inspectors are on the ground, meeting with disaster survivors to identify damages to homes, to further expedite assistance to individuals.   
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