A bipartisan cadre of New York's federal lawmakers is calling on President Donald Trump to approve a disaster declaration after devastating flooding on Halloween.
A major disaster declaration is required to release funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The funding is sought after widespread flooding and strong winds caused significant damage to homes and businesses following an Oct. 31 rainstorm.
Congressman Anthony Brindisi and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were among those who signed a letter sent to the president, according to a statement.
"Communities across Upstate New York saw horrific damage and heartbreak during these floods," Brindisi said, in a statement. " ... These dollars won't bring back what families lost, but they will go a long way to try and help our counties rebuild."
Schumer and Gillibrand cited the widespread damage around the state from the storm, which affected 18 counties and caused power outages and downed trees, in addition to flooding and other concerns.
"This immense damage totaled over $30 million in costs suffered and demands swift help from the feds to repair and recover," Schumer said, in a statement. "FEMA should approve New York State's request for a disaster declaration as soon as possible, so that counties across the state can continue recovering and rebuilding."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo requested a disaster declaration on Nov. 26 after conducting a preliminary damage assessment with FEMA, the statement said. FEMA requires a monetary damage threshold of $29.6 million for New York State, as well as county-by-county thresholds.
A disaster area can be declared after $901,932 in damages in Oneida County and $247,753 in damages in Herkimer County, according to FEMA.
With all of the other criteria met, the president will make the final determination if a FEMA disaster declaration is made.
The letter from New York's federal lawmakers stated damages in the state exceed $33 million.
"There is no doubt that this damage has overwhelmed state and local governments, and that a major disaster declaration is necessary," the letter said. "Federal assistance programs will be critical, so that our communities can recover from the flood damage."
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