Gov. Cuomo Asks Obama to Declare Major Disaster for NY

By Joshua Philipp, The Epoch Times
July 1, 2013 3:29 pm Last Updated: July 1, 2013 3:49 pm

NEW YORK—Following the severe storms and major flooding that hit New York on June 27 and 28, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent an open letter to President Barack Obama asking him to declare a major disaster for the state of New York.

Cuomo states that in response to the disaster he has requested a preliminary damage assessment, which will be conducted on July 1.

“After one day of state pre-assessment of damages, we have estimated that there is already $13,069,457 in damages in 9 out of 12 affected counties, and much of that represents only one or two communities in each county,” Cuomo states in the letter.

He notes that many municipalities cannot assess damage, since they are still flooded. Also, the number does not include the canal system, where at least six locks were damaged.

“We are confident that once we complete damage assessments in these areas, it will far exceed the state’s per capita threshold of $26.7 million,” the letter states.

The storm left more than 13,000 people without power, and one person who was swept away is presumed dead.

In the village of Mohawk, home to 3,500 people, the whole area was left without power. Water systems were also damaged. In the Village of Fort Plain, many roads were closed due to flooding, and 12 homes were inaccessible after roads were blocked with debris.

More than 85 people were moved to shelters opened by the American Red Cross. The Salvation Army kept people fed, and provided two meals a day for an estimated 500 residents in the village of Fort Plain, and more than 100 responders and residents in Herkimer County.

“Both the state and the affected counties are still struggling with the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, which destroyed lives and caused catastrophic damage to public and private infrastructure,” Cuomo states.

“These two storms occurred less than 18 months earlier and devastated the same communities now struggling with the additional burdens of the damage caused by this recent devastating flooding,” he states. “It is no exaggeration to state that our citizens are reeling from the physical, emotional and economic tolls of the past two years.”

Cuomo declared a State Disaster Emergency on June 28 for the counties of Broome, Chenango, Clinton, Essex, Delaware, Franklin, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie, St. Lawrence, Tioga, and Warren. Local states of emergency were also declared in 7 counties and 15 municipalities.