Congressman Tim Bishop hailed the swift approval by the President of a pre-landfall emergency disaster declaration requested by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The declaration authorizes FEMA to provide emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program to help save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas.
"My office contacted the White House to relay the concerns I have heard from County and Town officials about the effects of Hurricane Sandy, especially on low-lying areas," said Congressman Bishop. "This declaration shows an understanding on all levels of government that New York faces a serious threat, and we anticipate the need for continued federal assistance for Eastern Long Island in the aftermath of this powerful storm."
Radio and television media outlets who would like Congressman Bishop to discuss the ongoing federal response on-air should contact Oliver Longwell at 202-225-3645 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Direct federal assistance authorizes access to federal government assets and "boots on the ground" including personnel from FEMA, and other federal agencies where appropriate. FEMA may provide direct Federal assistance through a mission assignment to another Federal agency - upon request of New York State - to assist state and local governments with activities including, but not limited to:
Warning of risks and hazards.
Search and rescue, including transportation of disaster victims.
Emergency medical facilities.
Security in the disaster area.
Provision of food, water, ice, and other essential needs at central distribution points.
Temporary generators for facilities that provide health and safety services.
Rescue, care, shelter, and essential needs for household pets and service animals.
Removal of health and safety hazards.
Direct federal assistance under the limited pre-disaster declaration will be provided at 75 percent federal funding, meaning that the agency requesting the federal assistance will be responsible for 25% of the cost. FEMA assets are either positioned at or in transit to a central Long Island distribution point at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, including, but not limited to:
A FEMA mobile communications operations vehicle (MCOV)
A US Army Corps of Engineers Power Planning & Response Team; ETA sometime today.
Two truckloads of water (containing 18,000 liters of water per truck)
Two truckloads of meals totaling 28,416 per truck
Suffolk County has requested 10,000 meals from FEMA to feed residents at temporary shelters, and is in the process of picking the meals up from Republic Airport. In addition, FEMA is working to fill requests to stage 200 ambulances on Long Island.
Bishop has been urging county and local government to keep detailed records of their expenses related to the storm. Accurate records will be necessary to receive FEMA reimbursements for response and recovery costs if--following the storm--Governor Cuomo requests an expansion of the disaster declaration or submits a new application for a more comprehensive Major Disaster Declaration that includes Suffolk County.
Depending on the severity of storm damage and pending a request from Governor Cuomo, additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results damage assessments and further evaluation. Following the storm, residents should catalog all property damage and report it to their homeowners' insurance provider.
"I urge all residents to heed the warnings of local officials and stay indoors and off the roads to the extent possible. The best advice when facing a storm like this is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst, and let the professionals do their jobs," said Bishop. "I am in regular contact with county and local officials and will ensure any concern or need in our community is rapidly coordinated with FEMA."
Bishop has posted a Hurricane Preparedness Resources webpage on his website at: www.timbishop.house.gov that will be updated regularly with new information. New York State's State's Hurricane Sandy Helpline is now operating at 1-888-769-7243 or 1-518-485-1159.