In a recent letter to Governor Pataki, State Senator Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) urged the Governor to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a Federal Disaster Emergency Declaration, specifically for the Hurricane Katrina evacuation.
By obtaining a formal declaration, New York will be available for federal assistance as the entire state works to assist those affected by the hurricane.
"I am pleased the Governor took action so quickly in applying for the declaration, and now we have that designation. It is incumbent upon us to make sure we utilize all resources and services that we are entitled to under this declaration. Helping these displaced families reach some level of normalcy is a priority and should dictate the structure for how we can and should help those New Yorkers who are in similar conditions," said Senator Smith.
President Bush declared a state of emergency for New York and offered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts to help the Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Assistance is specifically available for emergency protective measures that are aimed at saving lives and protecting public health. This federal assistance will be provided at 100 percent federal funding.
The Queens lawmaker noted that a total of 44 states, including New York, are now included in emergency declarations.
"I am proud that New Yorkers are once again rising to the challenge with a firm resolve and steadfast dedication. These funds will allow our great state to continue assisting those who have survived our recent natural disasters and greatly need our help. It is important for all of us to respond to this tragedy and do our best as a community to help those who are suffering," said Senator Smith.