Biden Administration Issues Major Disaster Declaration for Upstate, Mid-Hudson Counties

Biden Administration Issues Major Disaster Declaration for Upstate, Mid-Hudson Counties
The Highland Falls and West Point communities in Orange County were hit hard by the storms. PHOTO CREDIT: U.S. ARMY

ALBANY—On Friday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that President Biden approved her request for a Major Disaster Declaration to provide federal assistance to communities impacted by flooding from heavy rainstorms across much of Upstate New York. The declaration releases critical federal assistance to support recovery and reconstruction efforts in Clinton, Dutchess, Essex, Hamilton, Ontario, Orange, Putnam and Rockland counties.

Those counties now have access to financial support for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repairs to public buildings and infrastructure. New York has also engaged with the U.S. Small Business Administration to pursue low-interest recovery loans for impacted businesses. Further assistance to individuals and additional counties across the state still remains under federal review.

“After devastating floods caused extreme damage across Upstate New York this month, I’m thankful President Biden has approved my request for a Major Disaster Declaration,” Gov. Hochul said. “My administration will work directly with FEMA in the coming weeks to ensure our local government partners receive the critical funding they need to begin the recovery and rebuilding process.”

A Major Disaster Declaration secures financial assistance from the federal government, primarily through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, to provide funding to local governments, tribes and eligible non-profits for debris removal, protective measures, and repairs to buildings and infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water and wastewater treatment facilities, critical infrastructure sites, schools, parks and other facilities.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “This declaration unlocks federal funding critical to the recovery of the communities devastated by this month’s catastrophic flooding. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Hochul and the support of President Biden and our federal partners, these communities can now begin to plan their long-term recovery and New York will remain at their side to help however we can.”

From July 9 – July 10, more than eight inches of rain was reported in parts of the Mid-Hudson Region and more than five inches of rain in Ontario County, in the Finger Lakes Region. From July 10 – July 11, parts of the North Country saw several inches of rain in a short period of time, which caused devastating flooding, closing roadways and damaging infrastructure across impacted regions.

Dutchess County Executive William F.X. O’Neil said, “We greatly appreciate the assistance from the state and federal government. This declaration will allow local municipalities impacted by devastating flooding to repair and restore critical infrastructure. We are grateful for the diligent efforts of our municipal leaders and state representatives who reacted quickly and efficiently to get the necessary documentation and triage immediate needs, notably Pawling Town supervisor James Schmitt. We will continue to work with state officials and FEMA reps to secure assistance for individuals and businesses as well as work with NYS DHSES and FEMA’s mitigation team so we not only repair damaged areas, but we also can take action to prevent similar issues in the future.”

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said, “I am happy to hear that the major disaster declaration has been made for Orange County communities impacted by flooding earlier this month. This is another important step in the recovery process and this additional funding will assist us as we recover. I will continue to work with Governor Hochul and advocate for Federal assistance as we rebuild after the storm.”

Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne said, “I’d like to thank President Biden for approving the federal Major Disaster Declaration that will enable FEMA to offer critical financial disaster relief funding to various municipal governments suffering from storm damage. I’d also like to thank Governor Hochul, her staff and team at the Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services for working jointly with our team at the Bureau of Emergency Services during the storms and recovery efforts. Every representative from Putnam’s state and federal delegation took time to reach out and offer support in the aftermath of the storms, and we thank them all, but we also recognize we still have a long way to go before all repairs and mitigation efforts are completed. Many homeowners are still hurting from storm damage. We will continue to work with our partners at the state and federal government to give them what they need to bolster their efforts to bring back additional relief.”

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said, “We acknowledge Governor Kathy Hochul and federal officials for moving this forward. We are satisfied to see help is coming to municipalities. Small businesses can also seek relief through low interest loans through the SBA. We are hopeful there will be more accommodation made for residents.”

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