WASHINGTON – New York's two U.S. senators Friday urged the new head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to speed up any assistance it can provide to flood-ravaged communities along Lake Ontario.
The federal government has not yet declared the Lake Ontario shoreline a federal disaster area, which would open the door to federal aid, and state officials haven't even submitted the request for federal aid yet because they are still assessing the damage.
But in a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand – both Democrats – urged the agency to expedite the state's upcoming aid request and process it before the damage assessment is complete.
"With lake levels not expected to recede for weeks, making it very difficult to get a full accounting of damage incurred, we urge FEMA to stand ready to support any forthcoming requests for expedited assistance without a full field damage assessment," the senators wrote.
Property owners need federal relief soon and possibly before the damage assessment is complete, the senators added.
"As costs continue to mount for homeowners, counties, and municipalities, federal assistance from FEMA could be vital in ensuring that communities are able to repair damage, clean up debris and undertake crucial mitigation work," they added.