U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand sent letters to the Federal Emergency Management Agency calling for a decision made about flood damage in Steuben County to be reversed.
A disaster declaration was issued for a number of counties – including Cayuga, Cortland, Steuben, and Yates.
However, will millions was unlocked through that effort to provide aid to local governments – individuals were provided nothing.
A request for Individual Assistance through FEMA in Steuben County was denied. That would have provided direct aid to families and individuals dealing with intense flooding.
Parts of Steuben County experienced a true flood emergency, with entire homes being overtaken by water as Tropical Storm Fred moved through in August.
“The people of Steuben County were devastated by Tropical Storm Fred’s heavy rains and historic flooding that severely damaged hundreds of homes and dozens of business,” said Senator Schumer. “While the Public Assistance FEMA approved earlier this year will go a long ways towards helping the community build back, Individual Assistance is needed to truly help families and individuals recover from this devastation. The damage is significant and pervasive throughout multiple communities in Steuben County, and I strongly urge FEMA to approve New York’s appeal of the denial for Individual Assistance for Steuben County.”
Sen. Gillibrand reiterated the point.
“Tropical Storm Fred ravaged communities throughout Steuben County. Individuals and families are in dire need of federal support and resources as they begin the long journey to recovery,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I urge FEMA to promptly reverse its denial of Individual Assistance – the residents of Steuben County cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Meanwhile, local officials are joining the chorus of Senators demanding a reversal.
“Steuben County is extremely appreciative of the efforts of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Gov. Hochul and her staff, and our state elected officials in submitting this formal appeal to FEMA,” said Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler. “Tropical Storm Fred caused the most severe flash flooding our county has seen in decades, and it is vital that FEMA revisit their decision on Individual Assistance for our residents that were impacted. Our hope is that the collective voices from every level of government in this state, coupled with the data provided, will provide FEMA with the information they need to rule in our favor.”
Swift water rescue crews were even deployed during the flooding because of its intensity.
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