Thursday, September 08, 2011

Updates on Irene / Lee recovery efforts

Afternoon updates:
Clarification on disaster assistance: There seems to be confusion about the IA and PA application process. Individual Assistance is for families and businesses. IA applications can be made at the two Disaster Recovery Centers (Belleayre Ski Center and the Business Resource Center in the Town of Ulster), by phone at 1-800-621-3362 or via internet at Municipalities are eligible for the Public Assistance. The PA process will begin with an invitation from me to an Applicant's Briefing (I have not yet been advised of the date for this). After a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) is made at this meeting, FEMA representatives will schedule a "kick off" meeting with your municipality. You should not wait for this to happen. If you have not already done so, begin the process of making repairs to "pre-disaster conditions" (have photos of the damage prior to making repairs and keep records of all expenditures).

Community liaisons: FEMA has deployed community liaisons that travel through neighborhoods spreading the word about benefits to families and businesses.

From the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services: NY State Geological Survey in consultation with the United States Geological Survey is issuing a landslide hazards warning for eastern New York. Forecasted heavy rainfall, including likely intense periods of precipitation, may trigger landslides on moderate to steep slopes and locally elsewhere on landslide-prone slopes in the northeastern United States. The advisory area includes there is the potential for high incidence of landslides in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Adirondacks, eastern New York, some landslides may be damaging and/or pose a threat to life safety and critical infrastructure. The most likely types of landslides triggered by this event will be shallow debris slides and debris avalanches on steep slopes and rock fall, particularly in mountainous areas of the state. Locally, debris avalanches, debris flows, and rock falls may pose a threat to life safety. In addition, some areas in the forecast area contain currently active landslides or landslides that have been active in the past few years including earlier in 2011. The forecasted rainfall amounts may lead to elevated pore-water pressures that cause reactivation of some landslides or a temporary acceleration in the velocity of movement. Movement of shallow landslides is most likely to initiate during periods of intense rainfall, but movement of deeper landslides may be delayed as pore-water pressures rise in response to the rainfall. Managers with critical infrastructure or facilities in known landslide hazard areas should make assessments and take appropriate measures, as necessary, to reduce losses in advance of the arrival of the predicted tropical storm. Periodic inspections of slope conditions on and adjacent to critical infrastructure, as feasible, are recommended during and after periods of the heavy rainfall.

Local Assistance: Following the 2005 floods several human needs organizations got together and formed DRIOUT (Disaster Relief Initiative of Ulster Towns). This partnership provided a wealth of support from a wide variety of community groups. DRIOUT is seeing new life in response to this event. Look for more information coming from the group.

Financial contributions: In order to ensure that monetary contributions remain in Ulster County, to help Ulster County residents, one of the DRIOUT partners, the United Way, has established a dedicated fund. See the following web site

Resource requests: While we are all well aware of the damage caused to Ulster County communities, please keep in mind that the southern tier has experienced devastation as well - especially in the last 24 hours. Because the areas affected by Irene / Lee continue to expand, resources will be even more difficult to obtain. Please keep this in mind when making requests.