The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent two teams to see first-hand the sections of Rockland County damaged by Sunday’s severe storm. In Clarkstown, the areas inspected included West Nyack near the Lake DeForest Dam and the Lake Lucille neighborhood in New City. The teams also viewed Hurricane Irene’s impact in Piermont, the towns of Orangetown, Haverstraw and Stony Point and the villages of Sloatsburg, Suffern and Montebello on Thursday.
Chris Jensen of the Rockland County Office of Fire & Emergency Services said the focus of the tour was individual homes because the county has not received a FEMA declaration of eligibility for individual assistance.
“What the FEMA folks were doing today was seeing if Rockland qualifies for that designation,” he explained.
Rockland residents are not currently eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance Program, which would provide money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses where the property damage or destruction is not covered by insurance. If Rockland receives the designation then residents could apply for funds to rent an alternative place to live and repair damage not covered by insurance to their primary residence.
Jensen said they conducted a visual inspection and a fact-finding mission. Jensen said the county provided the FEMA officials with photo documentation and also directed them to Patch web sites in the county and other media for additional visual documentation of the damage. He said business owners and residents have already started submitting information to RocklandDamages@gmail.com, which is part of the county’s effort to collect information and data for FEMA.
“Any way we had to show them damages throughout the county, we have used,” he said.
The inspectors spoke to homeowners and elected officials. Clarkstown Finance Director John Sullivan said he, the town’s environmental control director and county emergency services officials met with the FEMA representative checking Clarkstown.
Jensen said the FEMA teams will return to their Albany office and evaluate the information.
“They have the information,” he said. “They will be advising us as soon as they have a determination.”
He has no idea of how long the process will take. Once the county is informed, it will notify the towns and villages.
Rockland is already eligible for ’s Hazard Mitigation Grant and Public Assistance Grant programs. The Hazard Mitigation Grant program provides grants to local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures. The Public Assistance Grant Program aids local governments and certain types of private non-profit organizations.