November 29, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Requests Major Disaster Declaration From President Biden to Secure Federal Assistance for Downstate Communities Impacted by September’s Significant Flooding

Governor Hochul Requests Major Disaster Declaration From President Biden to Secure Federal Assistance for Downstate Communities Impacted by September’s Significant Flooding

If Granted, Declaration Would Provide Federal Assistance for the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan and Nassau and Westchester Counties

Widespread Six to Seven Inches of Rain Caused Flash Flooding Damage Across Downstate Area

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Governor Kathy Hochul today requested a Major Disaster Declaration from President Biden to support the ongoing recovery of downstate communities impacted by the significant flooding occurring during a two-day period in late September. If granted by the federal government, this declaration would provide federal funding for the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as Nassau and Westchester counties to cover debris removal, emergency protective measures and repairs to public buildings and infrastructure. New York is also working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to obtain low-interest recovery loans for impacted businesses in Brooklyn and Nassau County as they have met the required federal thresholds.

“Our state witnessed unprecedented rainfall in September that resulted in devastating flooding, causing extensive damage throughout New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley,” Governor Hochul said. “I’m requesting federal assistance to support our ongoing efforts to help New Yorkers recover as communities continue to deal with the fallout of this historic weather event.”

A Major Disaster Declaration secures financial assistance from the federal government, primarily through FEMA's Public Assistance Program, to provide funding to local governments, tribes and eligible non-profits for debris removal, protective measures, and repairs to public buildings and infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water and wastewater treatment facilities, critical infrastructure sites, schools, parks and other facilities.

Following a disaster, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' (DHSES) Disaster Recovery Unit works directly with counterparts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and impacted local governments to assess damages caused by, and costs related to, the disaster. Once these assessments are complete, FEMA validates whether the state and impacted counties have reached the required federal damage thresholds for a Major Disaster Declaration.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "New York was inundated with torrential rains at the end of September, with some areas receiving more than eight inches of rain in just 24 hours. This led to widespread flood damage throughout the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Hochul, our teams worked side by side with our local partners to not only respond in the moment, but work tirelessly post-storm to ensure those impacted are able to access the federal recovery funding they deserve.”

More than seven inches of rain fell in Brooklyn, and six inches of rain fell in Manhattan and parts of Nassau and Westchester counties during a 24-hour period on September 29, 2023. Governor Hochul declared a State of Emergency for all of New York City, Long Island and the Mid-Hudson Region on September 29, as heavy rain impacted the downstate region.

In advance of the storm, Governor Hochul directed State agencies to prepare emergency response assets and stay in constant communication with local governments to monitor weather impacts and respond to requests for assistance.

About the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

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

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640

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