Biden Declares Post-Hurricane Ida State of Emergency for New York 

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In the wake of Hurricane Ida, President Joe Biden has proclaimed a state of emergency for New York, allocating federal resources toward the state’s recovery after the storm caused “billions” of dollars in damage and left at least 15 people dead. 

The White House’s reaction addresses concerns raised Thursday by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — both of whom reiterated the need for federal aid and urged the president to act accordingly. 

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On Thursday morning, Hochul first declared New York in a state of emergency. She cited stranded individuals, mass flash flooding, and the destruction of infrastructure as just a few of the casualties that the state and federal government needed to address. 

“We are still in the process of uncovering the true depth of the destruction that was done by this historic weather event,” Hochul said in a statement. “As we continue with our recovery efforts and begin to further assess the damage, I am formally requesting an emergency declaration from the federal government to ensure that we get the financial assistance and any other help we may need for our citizens and businesses who were affected by this storm.” 

Wednesday night’s storm resulted in 45 deaths across the Northeast. At least 13 of these victims were in New York City, the majority of whom died by basement flooding. Other New Yorkers were left stranded as a result of flight and train cancellations. 

In addition to the human impact, the storm has cost billions of dollars in property damage. Many apartments and basements were hit and just as many streets flooded, leaving the state of New York infrastructure pending. The city is still assessing what the damage looks like and evaluating the best way to move forward. 

By declaring a state of emergency, the federal government will supplement state response efforts to help New York get back on its feet. President Biden authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to immediately put forward relief packages. Operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FEMA will provide aid, resources, personnel and equipment in accordance with the needs of individual areas. Once enacted, the efforts will also provide New Yorkers with temporary shelter.

Federal funding will cover up to 75 percent of the cost of emergency protective measures. 

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act outlines the steps the state and government will take toward delivering this aid. FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Lai Sun Yee will manage the state’s recovery.

The following counties fall under the proclamation’s umbrella: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.

As of Friday morning, 7,900 New Yorkers are still without power, while various Metro-North lines and select state highways remain closed, Hochul said. With Biden’s state of emergency, up to $5 million in federal funding will be allocated toward recovery efforts.

“As downstate areas recover from this extreme weather event, I have requested and secured an Emergency Disaster Declaration from the federal government that will help provide localities with funding and relief in the initial restoration efforts,” Hochul said in a statement. “I will continue to urge the federal government to expedite the damage assessment process to provide all the federal resources available to ensure New Yorkers get what they need to recover from this historic storm. We are committed to providing all the necessary resources for New Yorkers to recover from the historic, devastating flooding, and I have directed all State agencies on the ground to continue to help these impacted areas with cleanup missions.”

Anna Staropoli can be reached at astaropoli@commercialobserver.com.