On Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency officially declared Brooklyn a “disaster area,” following the December 2010 blizzard that buried it in nearly two feet of snow.
For the past few months since the first crippling snowstorm, Rep. Edolphus Towns of Bed-Stuy, along with Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Anthony Weiner and other members of Brooklyn’s Congressional delegation had been pressuring FEMA for the designation—one that would makes the borough eligible to receive federal funds to help cover the cost of cleanup.
“It is heartening that FEMA understands the enormous burdens localities bear during natural catastrophic events,” Towns said.
The cleanup efforts behind the 2010 blizzard were so great – more than $60 million in recovery costs – the city was forced to exceed its snow budget for the entire 2011 fiscal year.
Brooklyn’s designation qualifies it for Category B funding, which could be used to cover the costs of emergency repairs, search and rescue, and the installation of warning devices like signs or announcements.
Now that Brooklyn has been declared a disaster area, state and local governments, as well as certain non-profit organizations, also are eligible for assistance.
"It is incredibly difficult for local governments to generate resources to meet these demands and we appreciate the federal government's assistance,” said Towns.