Daily Operational Snapshot-New York, Nov. 21

Operational Status:

  • The President signed FEMA-4085-DR declaration for the State of New York on October 30, 2012.
  • The emergency and major disaster declaration for the State of New York ((FEMA-3351-EM and FEMA-4085-DR) have been amended closing the incident period, effective November 8, 2012.

Declared Counties:

  • Bronx, Kings, Orange, Nassau, New York Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Sullivan, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester Counties for Individual and Public Assistance [Categories A-G], including direct federal assistance
  • Hazard Mitigation (HMGP) Authorized Statewide

Snapshot of Disaster Recovery Efforts:

  • More than 222,000 New Yorkers have contacted FEMA for information or registered for assistance with FEMA. More than 114,000 have applied online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov or on their smart phone at m.fema.gov.
  • 36 Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open in the affected areas. These include mobile sites as well as fixed sites, and to date more than 43,000 survivors have been assisted at DRCs in New York.
  • Nearly 1,300 inspectors in the field have completed more than 110,000 home inspections.
  • 1,054 Community Relations (CR) specialists are strategically positioned throughout affected communities, going door to door explaining the types of disaster assistance available and how to register. More teams continue to arrive daily.
  • 6 Points of Distribution (PODs) remain open and are providing supplies to the affected residents and 10 fixed feeding sites are being operated by the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

Total Staff: Deployed: 3,756; Pending: 125 (Non-FEMA: 111 (est.)

Total CR Staff: 1,054 (CR = 544/FEMA Corps = 102/Surge = 408)

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS):

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approved New York’s request to provide USDA Foods to households impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Approximately 1.1 million pounds of household size USDA food, valued at approximately $721,178, will be distributed from Nov. 4 to Nov. 30, 2012, to households through 1,000 designated emergency feeding outlets in the areas of Westchester and Rockland Counties, New York City and Long Island.

How to get assistance:

Individuals can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smart phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362. Multilingual telephone operators are available to help non-English-speaking survivors register for disaster aid and to get their questions answered. After dialing FEMA’s registration/helpline callers should choose Option 3. FEMA can provide translation/interpretation services over the phone.

People who have a speech disability or hearing impairment can call TTY 800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362.

The toll-free telephone numbers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.

Registration Totals: 222,288

Since Hurricane Sandy struck New York, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided New York survivors $594 million in federal individual assistance grants to help them recover from damages caused by the storm. The assistance includes $531 million in housing grants, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs, and $33 million to cover other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.

FEMA is reaching out to all the 13 declared counties with attention to the hardest hit areas of New York State. To date, assistance to the hardest hit areas includes:

  • Bronx $1.1 million
  • Kings $117.8 million
  • Nassau $209.6 million
  • New York $5.9 million
  • Queens $158.9 million
  • Richmond $60.9 million
  • Suffolk $37.6 million

(NOTE: The counties and amounts above are for the hardest hit areas, and do not reflect all assistance provided by FEMA and our other federal partners.)

Disaster assistance grants must be used for disaster-related expenses. Shortly after receiving the funds, survivors receive a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency explaining how the money may be used. Survivors should keep receipts for all disaster-related expenses.

Housing Assistance funds may be used for:

  • Repairs to return the home to a safe and functional condition. These may include repairs to windows, doors, water and ventilation systems or other structural parts of a home.
  • Rebuilding a home that has been destroyed.
  • Reimbursement for hotel or motel lodging expenses directly related to the disaster while the survivor’s home is being repaired. Those who must remain in temporary housing for an extended period may request more assistance until their home can be reoccupied or other permanent housing arrangements can be made.

Other Needs Assistance funds may be used for:

  • Medical, dental and funeral expenses.
  • Repair or replacement of damaged personal property, specialized tools for employment, household items, furniture and appliances.
  • Reimbursement for moving expenses and transportation costs (vehicle repair). · Other approved disaster-related expenses.

Meals Served (cumulative): 3,010,350

Disaster Recovery Centers:
OPEN: 34 (19 Mobile /17 Fixed)
PENDING: 4

U.S. Small Business Administration:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided one-on-one help homeowners and business owners seeking disaster assistance and has approved more than $11 million in disaster loans.

Debris Removal:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is transporting more than 5,000 tons of Hurricane Sandy-generated debris daily by long-haul trucks from temporary storage sites in the New York City metro area to permanent disposal facilities in upstate New York.

Shelters and Warming Centers:

A complete list of locations being opened as Warming Centers for the City of New York may be found at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/warming_ctr.html.

FEMA Speaks Many Languages:

  • FEMA is working with community volunteer groups and local officials to reach out to Hurricane Sandy survivors whose primary language is not English. Community Relations teams are distributing more than 400,000 flyers in many languages.
  • A substantial effort is under way this week in Coney Island, where community leaders have identified 90 multi-story apartment buildings where survivors are staying in buildings that in many cases are lacking heat or hot water. The residents are elderly and many speak only Russian. Some are stranded on high floors of buildings without functioning elevators. Most have not registered with FEMA for federal assistance.
  • Community Relations teams, working with the agency’s Limited English Proficiency specialists, are canvassing these buildings to help survivors register. FEMA is working with Russian-speaking community organizations to have Russian speakers accompany the Community Relations teams.
  • FEMA teams also have made special outreach efforts in Brighton Beach, where many residents speak Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic or Tagalog. Other outreach efforts are being made throughout the New York area where there are concentrations of people who speak little English.
  • Hurricane Sandy survivors in New York do not need to speak English in order to register for assistance. FEMA speaks multiple languages so that there are no barriers when it comes to your recovery.

Multilingual telephone operators are available to help non-English-speaking survivors register for disaster aid and to get their questions answered.

If you are aware of populations that needs resources in another language, please let us know, and we will work with our agency’s Limited English Proficiency specialists to try and meet the need.

Disaster Unemployment Insurance:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that federal disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) is now available for residents of Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster counties who lost their job or income due to Hurricane Sandy.

Residents of the Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties were previously declared, Last week, Governor Cuomo announced an extension from December 3, 2012 to February 4, 2013 to apply for DUA. Claimants have up to 90 days to submit proof of employment or self-employment and will be provided an IRS link to expedite the retrieval of lost or destroyed tax documents.

This assistance supplements New York’s existing unemployment insurance system and expands eligibility to include individuals who might otherwise not be covered. The Federal Government has committed to providing additional assistance as the demand for these services is identified.

Since DUA relief was announced, the Department of Labor has received more than 27,500 calls for disaster related unemployment assistance. More than 4,600 individuals have filed for disaster unemployment assistance and over 18,100 have filed for regular Unemployment Benefits resulting from the storm. Anyone unemployed as a result of Hurricane Sandy can submit a claim to the Department of Labor. The criterion for collecting disaster assistance is broader than for collecting regular unemployment benefits. Specifically, an individual can collect disaster assistance in any of the following cases:

  • Injured in the disaster and unable to work, whether the person is an employee or self-employed.
  • Workplace is damaged, or destroyed, or the person cannot work because of the disaster.
  • Transportation to work is not available because of the disaster.
  • Cannot get to work because they must travel through the affected area, which is impossible due to disaster.
  • Scheduled to begin working, but cannot because of the disaster.
  • Derived most of income from areas affected by the disaster, and business is closed or inoperable because of the disaster.
  • Is not otherwise eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

However, this list is not exhaustive, and if someone is uncertain about eligibility, they are encouraged to apply. All applicants will be required to submit wage information and documentation supporting their application. Examples of self-employment include small business owners, independent taxi drivers, vendors, independent commercial fisherman and farmers.

To apply for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance, those affected by the storm and have lost their job or income should call the Telephone Claims Center (TCC) at 1-888-209-8124, or 1-877-358-5306 if they live out of state. Applicants should answer the questions to indicate they lost their job due to Hurricane Sandy. In order to receive benefits they must apply by February 4, 2013.

If you have any questions, please contact FEMA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Division at (202) 646-3444 or at FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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