The federal government approved $5 million Friday to help ease the burden on state and local governments working to remedy closed roads, train service and severe damage caused by Hurricane Ida’s historic rainfall and flooding in 14 counties throughout New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency immediately approved up to $5 million in emergency evacuation and shelter assistance for Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties, which remain under a declared state of emergency.
Emergency response agencies across the state continue to help with cleanup and recovery following Ida’s historic flooding that led to the death of at least 15 New Yorkers who became trapped in their basements, apartments or vehicles.
“Those are the images that haunt me in the aftermath of this storm,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said standing among the debris in Yonkers on Friday, before thanking local officials for their help.
“We’re going to be in this together — we’re going to be in it until the job is done, and what the job being done looks like is yes, cleaning up the streets, moving the cars, fixing people’s homes and backyards, restoring our service on the Hudson line which is disrupted right now ... so we have work to do,” she said.
Service on Metro-North’s Hudson Line and New Canaan and Danbury branches remained suspended due to 10 feet of mud covering the tracks.
More than 7,900 people remained without power Friday, closing in on 48 hours without electricity. Thousands of others continue to be displaced from their homes.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both D-N.Y., joined Hochul and other federal and state officials to survey damage for hours Friday, working to complete FEMA damage assessments.
FEMA started work with the state division of Homeland Security and Emergency Service on Friday to begin an expedited damage assessment process required for a Major Disaster Declaration, which provides a wider range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure.
The state threshold to receive a major disaster declaration is $30,036,058. The statewide recovery is anticipated to require well over $30 million, Hochul said.
“It’s costing the area millions in damage, costing the area millions in devastation,” Schumer said Friday. “We need the federal government to once and for all rectify this issue.”
The total amount authorized for a single emergency is up to $5 million. Receiving an Emergency Declaration does not preclude the state from receiving a Major Disaster Declaration, according to the governor’s office.
FEMA will provide the state personnel, equipment, supplies and financial assistance to assist with the continued response, rescue and recovery efforts. New Yorkers will also be eligible for temporary housing and funeral assistance.
The storm dumped between 6 and 8 inches of rain late Wednesday and overnight, sparking flash floods, widespread power outages and closing multiple roads and highways, forcing New York State Police, state Fire Police and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to rescue hundreds of drivers stranded in deep flood waters.
A record-breaking 3.15 inches of rain fell in Manhattan’s Central Park from 8:50 to 9:50 p.m. — blowing through an hourly rainfall ceiling of 1.94 inches set Aug. 21 in Mother Nature’s second significant weather event in 10 days.
State Department of Environmental Conservation staff continued to analyze the damage to wastewater infrastructure, reports of petroleum spills and survey compromised dams, levees and other essential infrastructure.