FEMA approves diaster declaration for damage from August flooding

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following a major push for full and expedited consideration for New York state’s request to the administration for a Disaster Declaration, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday have announced that President Biden has approved New York’s Disaster Declaration request in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fred.

The designation officially provides the state with federal funding needed to begin recovery efforts for state and local governments; Individual assistance, the FEMA program to help households recover, is still under review.

The severe flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred rampaged the Mohawk Valley, as well as parts of the Southern Tier, Central New York and the Finger Lakes, on Aug. 18.

The declaration makes federal funding available to state, tribal, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred in Allegany, Cayuga, Cortland, Lewis, Oneida, Steuben, Tioga, and Yates counties.

During the storm, New York received over seven inches of rain in three days, with 24-hour totals exceeding three inches in many locations and one receiving over five inches, helping make this one the wettest summers in the region.

Dozens of Rome residents were forced to evacuate their homes and take refuge in a shelter set up at Rome Free Academy. Roads in several areas to the north, including Western, Boonville, Lee, Florence and Ava suffered from flooding, including some washed out. Several homes on River Street as well as Crescent Drive in Rome suffered significant flood damage.

“Communities across Upstate New York including in the Southern Tier, Central New York, and the Finger Lakes were ravaged by Tropical Storm Fred’s heavy rain and historic flooding,” Schumer said. “The damage was severe, and while this won’t make New Yorkers whole, this will provide the funding and support needed to rebuild, and rebuild stronger. After my continued engagement with the administration, I’m glad the president has agreed to step in and jumpstart recovery efforts for the region.”

“I am deeply grateful that President Biden has granted a Major Disaster Declaration for New York State in the wake of Tropical Storm Fred,” said Gillibrand. “Senator Schumer and I requested this crucial measure, which will deliver federal funds that will help New York families and communities recover from the significant damages caused by flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred.” Grant assistance will now be made available to state and local governments, as well as certain non-profit organizations, to reimburse costs incurred for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities. This funding is available on a cost-sharing basis; FEMA generally covers 75% of the eligible costs for permanent and emergency work.

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