Life is returning to normal for Queens residents after tornados knocked down thousands of trees in Middle Village, Forest Hills, Flushing and Bayside. The majority of debris is cleared, but there is still plenty of work to be done.
On Friday, Governor David Paterson asked President Obama for federal disaster assistance to help offset the costs of cleaning up the city. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials and the State Office of Emergency Management (OEM) have been touring the city to assess the damage.
“The September 16 storm struck New York City with a vengeance, cutting off electric power in thousands of homes and businesses, disrupting travel for thousands, and causing extensive property damage and, tragically, the loss of one life,” Paterson said. “New Yorkers need help from Washington in recovering from this storm.”
A federal disaster designation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would give the city money in the Public Assistance plan. The money from Public Assistance would help offset the costs for initial response, debris removal and repairs to public property.
Paterson would also like to have the Individual Assistance program implemented. Individual Assistance allows for residents to apply for Small Business Administration low-interest loans and provides assistance for items such as clothing and household items.
For some, the fact that Queens is a disaster area is evident. “Anyone who has seen the damage firsthand knows that we experienced a disaster – now we just need FEMA to make it official so we can get the federal funding we desperately need to repair our neighborhoods, roads and parks,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner.