Communities impacted by flooding hope for FEMA aid

New York News

WELLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Communities impacted by the Halloween storm are hoping federal aid will help them rebuild.

A FEMA spokesperson told NEWS10 ABC they expect to be called in, but damage must be assessed on a statewide level before the feds decide whether they’ll provide assistance.

The storm dumped up to FIVE inches of rain on parts of New York, laying waste to roads and homes and resulting in a state of emergency across a dozen counties.

“Just realizing the sheer level of destruction and devastation, it was heartbreaking,” said Rebekah Crewell.

The insurance broker and the team at Shults Insurance Agency have been busy.

“Our community has really been through the wringer the past few days. It’s hard to put into words unless you actually see what we’ve been through,” she said.

Crewell lives in Wells along the Sacandaga River, which feeds into Lake Algonquin. Her home wasn’t impacted, but many of her clients’ were.

“I had the very difficult task of telling many people that flooding is specifically excluded on homeowner’s insurance,” said Crewell.

But, what insurance doesn’t cover, potential FEMA aid could. The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said they’ve begun assessing flood damage and that it will most likely meet the threshold to qualify for assistance.

“Our next objective is to get FEMA’s attention to actually send their people out here to assess damage,” she said.

A statement from the DHSES says in part, “Division leadership remains in constant contact with FEMA to push for an expedited review on the federal side, once assessments are completed.”

“Getting it back to where it was, that’s going to be hard.”

Brian Griffin knows it will be a waiting game, but he says assistance can’t come soon enough.

“We’re looking for all the help we can get, government or otherwise,” he said.

Crewell has collected a list of damages and sent it to the state as the early stages of the process move forward.

“There are no guarantees, but we’re really headed in the right direction,” said Crewell.

The request for a federal disaster declaration must be submitted by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Then the feds will make the final call on whether FEMA assistance is warranted.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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