Senators urge President Biden to approve disaster declaration after flash floods

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ALBANY, N.Y. – Senators say that the Major Disaster declaration would unlock federal funds for impacted counties beginning to recover from heavy rains that ravaged Hudson Valley and Upstate New York.

Following their calls earlier this week, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand urged President Biden on Friday to approve the Major Disaster declaration for New York communities impacted by the severe flash flooding that has rampaged through the Hudson Valley and communities across Upstate New York. The senators said New York State has requested hazard mitigation assistance statewide, Individual Assistance for Ontario and Orange counties, and Public Assistance for several counties, including Ontario.

On July 10th, New York State declared a State of Emergency in Orange and Ontario counties. The next day, the state expanded its emergency declaration to include several other counties in central and upstate New York.

In Ontario County floods impacted nearly 100 homes and displaced residents. Sewage systems and water treatment plants have struggled to keep up with the massive amounts of water entering their systems, damaging and in some cases stopping operations.

If a Major Disaster declaration is declared, grant assistance would be made available to state and local governments, as well as certain non-profit organizations, to reimburse costs for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities.

Schumer and Gillibrand urged FEMA to be prepared to support any requests for aid from New York State.

The president can issue “Major Disaster” or “Emergency” declarations after catastrophes occur. The decision to issue a disaster declaration is at the discretion of the president, and must be requested by the governor of the state.