September 13, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Requests Federal Disaster Declaration to Release Federal Aid to Eight Counties

Governor Cuomo Requests Federal Disaster Declaration to Release Federal Aid to Eight Counties

Request to Provide Financial Relief to Local Governments Impacted by August Flash Flooding

View the Governor's Letter Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today requested that the federal government grant a Major Disaster Declaration for eight counties devastated by flash flooding during severe storms in August. A Major Disaster Declaration would result in financial assistance from the federal government allowing local communities to continue their recovery. Assistance includes funding for emergency protective measures, debris removal, and repairs to public buildings and infrastructure.

The eight counties included in the request are: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Schuyler, Seneca and Tioga.

"These storms brought such devastation to the area, local communities were left unsure of how they would recover from such loss and damage," Governor Cuomo said. "As the state continues to assist the New Yorkers impacted by the flooding last month, I am urging the federal government to recognize the severity of this situation and provide the funding and resources these communities so desperately need."

"Areas around the world are being impacted by severe weather events that are devastating communities," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The damage costs millions, making it even more difficult to rebuild and recover in the aftermath of a storm. We urge the federal government to grant a Disaster Declaration to provide financial assistance to eight counties hit by flash flooding in August to continue their recovery efforts and build back stronger."

On August 24, Governor Cuomo requested a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment in which teams of state and federal experts estimated over $36 million in infrastructure repair, debris removal and structure damage as a result of these storms.

The FEMA Public Assistance Program provides reimbursement for local governments after a disaster has been declared by the President for activities such as debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair and rebuilding of publically-owned infrastructure that was damaged including roads, schools, bridges, parks, hospitals, police stations, fire houses, water and waste water treatment facilities and other public facilities.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger L. Parrino, Sr. said, "Governor Cuomo's request for federal assistance is essential to the recovery process and will be a crucial step in helping these communities rebuild their lives from these storms. I am grateful for the partnership with FEMA and look forward to working towards recovery for these communities with our federal and local partners."

National Weather Service data indicates these regions received between 10 and 20 inches of rain during the 30-day period beginning July 22, 2018. The August storms near the end of this period produced heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and strong winds, and combined with ground saturated by this abnormally wet period for the region, produced significant damage across the Finger Lakes region and Columbia County.

During the height of the storm, roads were rendered impassable from flood waters which overtopped multiple roads, bridges and culverts causing damage ranging from erosion of roadway shoulders and damage to bridges, to complete destruction of culverts and roadways. Widespread power outages impacted more than 1,500 homes and businesses in the area. State and local responders rescued and evacuated more than 200 people from campgrounds in the Finger Lakes region.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism, man-made and natural disasters, and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter andInstagram, or visit


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