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FEMA assesses flood damage throughout Herkimer, Oneida counties

Officials from FEMA traveled through Herkimer and Oneida counties Tuesday to assess damage to homes and roadways after the Halloween floods.

Posted: Nov 19, 2019 4:28 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2019 5:30 PM

Officials from FEMA traveled through Herkimer and Oneida counties Tuesday to assess damage to homes and roadways after the Halloween floods.

Before FEMA can make a disaster declaration, the damage to the affected area has to meet a certain threshold, which is why residents have been advised to call 211 over the past several weeks to report damages.

"The threshold for the state is $29.6 million. If we’re looking at damage like this through 18 counties, I'm sure we'll be close to that number if not well above it. I can't tell you yay or nay we're going to get a declaration out of it. That's going to be based on the information we gather toward the end of the week," said Christopher Hartnett from FEMA.

The FEMA representatives are not only assessing destroyed bridges and roadways, but individual homes as well.

Eliaser De Jesus of Whitesboro allowed FEMA inside his home, to see the damage, most of which will not be covered by his flood insurance.

"They say ‘picture your house, shake it upside down. Everything that falls out isn't covered,’" said De Jesus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement Tuesday calling on federal officials for assistance:

"The recent 'Halloween Floods' wreaked havoc on the Mohawk Valley. Our emergency responders did an amazing job in difficult circumstances, not only in reducing property damage, but also saving lives. I was there and saw the heroism myself.

"The property damage incurred was substantial and we deserve and demand federal assistance from FEMA. The state and local communities have paid more than their fair share. We need our federal officials to demand reimbursement from FEMA and to actually deliver and produce results for the people of the Mohawk Valley. It is unacceptable that the federal government is wholly unresponsive and I urge our federal officials - Democrats and Republicans - to come together and produce reimbursement from FEMA.  We don't need words, we need action. 

"As a state official we are doing all that we can and I have called on FEMA repeatedly for their assistance and am providing them with data substantiating our claim. However, FEMA is a federal agency and must respond to federal officials who control its budget and authorization. We need them to step up and deliver."

FEMA is trying to complete the assessment of all 18 affected counties in the next 10 days.

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