Financial assistance is on its way to communities in the southern region affected by Tropical Storm Fred, an August storm that caused severe damage to the region.
President Joe Biden has approved New York State’s request for a declaration of major disaster for eight counties. The statement unlocks federal financial relief for local governments recovering from the storm.
The declaration will provide public assistance to municipalities in Allegany, Cayuga, Cortland, Lewis, Oneida, Steuben, Tioga and Yates counties, where more than $ 36.2 million in total damage has been reported for public infrastructure and facilities. .
Some of the heaviest occurred in southern Steuben County, with the Woodhull and Jasper areas particularly affected by flash floods that damaged roads, bridges, homes and businesses. Most of downtown Woodhull was damaged by flood water, including the town’s highway garage. To the west, Jasper-Troupsburg High School suffered extensive damage to the first floor as classrooms, hallways, offices and the gymnasium were flooded with water.
Neighboring Allegany County was also affected, with several roads flooded and some residents of the Willing area forced to evacuate.
The state’s Homeland Security and Emergency Services division deployed specialists to assess the damage in the days following the August 18 storm.
“Thanks to the dedication of our state staff who have worked with local authorities and FEMA to assess damage in affected areas, many communities in the northern part of the state will now be eligible for much needed federal assistance,” he said. said Governor Kathy Hochul. “I appreciate the support of President Biden and the federal government for coming together to help New Yorkers rebuild. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to provide Steuben County with the resources it needs. needs to recover, including individual assistance to owners. “
Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Steuben County on August 19.
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The money will help rebuild public infrastructure
The Biden administration’s declaration of major disaster now allows federal government financial assistance to go to local communities and help recovery efforts. Through FEMA’s public assistance program, reimbursements can be received for activities such as debris removal, emergency protection measures, and repair and reconstruction of public infrastructure, including roads, public schools, bridges, parks, hospitals, police stations, fire stations, water and sewage treatment facilities and other public facilities.
The Homeland Security and Emergency Services Division will work with local partners to identify recovery projects to seek reimbursement through the public assistance program. FEMA will then review the eligibility of the projects and conduct site visits with the division and local officials to define and possibly combine the projects.
Once a project is identified and the initial site visit has been completed, FEMA, division staff and the locality will develop the project worksheet, which includes a description of damage, scope of work and a cost estimate. After a final FEMA eligibility review, funding will be tied to the project.
Public infrastructure was submerged by Tropical Storm Fred in many areas. Tuscarora Creek peaked at over 14 feet, breaking the previous record. New York received more than 7 inches of rain in three days during the storm, with 24-hour totals exceeding 3 inches in many places. Much of the southern layer was already ready for the wettest summer on record before the storm.
The individual assistance program would help homeowners
Hochul said the federal government has yet to make a decision on New York’s request for funding to support Steuben County homeowners under the Individual Assistance Program. The governor intends to renew this request “until the necessary resources are obtained for the county of Steuben”.
In the days following the storm, Steuben County officials estimated several hundred homes had been affected by the flooding. Steuben County Public Safety Director Tim Marshall said a dozen structures were completely destroyed and about 25 others suffered significant damage.
Flash floods in the evening and overnight led to several rescues and water evacuations. DEC Swift Water Rescue teams, State Police and Office of Fire Prevention and Control staff responded to several flooded homes in six different municipalities. Evacuees were sheltered at various locations as floodwaters threatened homes and property, and 10 state highways were closed and potentially damaged due to flooding.
The flood caused one death in Steuben County. A 31-year-old mother from Greenwood, Klarissa M. Bivins, was killed when floodwaters forced her car off State Route 417 between South Addison and Woodhull and into the Canisteo River.
In a statement on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would push for approval of support for individual aid from the federal government.
âI will continue to work with the administration and affected counties, especially Steuben County and other communities who are seeking individual assistance and have suffered significant damage,â Schumer said. âI will continue to push the administration to ensure that Steuben County receives every dollar it deserves from FEMA and is on the road to recovery.