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White House Vows Ongoing Sandy Support

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The White House has renewed its commitment to helping victims of Hurricane Sandy. The Obama Administration continues to support areas damaged by Sandy weeks after the super-storm had dissipated. President Obama has also announced plans to have Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan work with local government in order to begin redeveloping affected communities.

According to a White House press release, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the Department of Homeland Security, have continued to use all available federal resources in support of recovery efforts. FEMA has deployed 7,700 personnel across all states that have been damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

While rainfall may have stopped, de-watering missions are still underway in flooded zones. Over 470 million gallons of water was drained from the New York metropolitan area thanks to the efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Additionally, FEMA has provided over $600 million in direct assistance to hundreds of thousands of residents that were affected by Sandy. Even though 99 percent of homes have had their power and utilities restored, thousands of residents remain without power despite the efforts of the federal government.

Another area of shortage that the federal government has been subsidizing is fuel. The Department of Defense and FEMA have offered millions of gallons of fuel to areas facing fuel shortages. These efforts are a response to the long lines at gas stations where wait times have been in excess of ten hours.

Aside from FEMA’s assistance in the form of water, meals and energy restoration in the affected areas, the federal government has also endeavored to offer financing to businesses damaged by the natural disaster.

In the State of New York, the counties of Ulster, Sullivan, Orange and Putnam have been qualified for federal disaster assistance in the form of business loans. These low-cost business loans are being offered to cover uninsured property losses.

Small business owners in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties have also qualified for disaster business loans. These disaster business loans are available in dollar amounts up to $40,000. Applicants can also apply for financing of up to $200,000 towards the repair or replacement of homes that are not fully covered by insurance plans.

Business owners who are seeking assistance can apply by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or applying online at fema.gov or www.disasterassistance.gov.

As of Nov. 15, over 414,000 individuals had applied for aid. The Small Business Administration has lent 262,668 disaster business loan applications as part of ongoing recovery efforts. Even if the SBA rejects an applicant aid may still be available via FEMA.

The SBA continues to maintain representatives at recovery centers to answer questions and provide assistance to affected residents. Thus far, 26,000 survivors have visited centers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

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