Nearly $633 Million Approved for New York State Hurricane Sandy Survivors
November 23, 2012
NEW YORK — Since Hurricane Sandy struck New York, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved nearly $633 million to help individuals and families recover from the disaster.
FEMA is reaching out to all 13 designated counties with attention focused on the hardest hit areas of New York State. Assistance to the hardest hit areas includes:
Bronx $1.4 million
Kings $129.3 million
Nassau $217.4 million
New York $7.1 million
Queens $165.2 million
Richmond $65.9 million
Suffolk $43.8 million
FEMA provides the following snapshot of the disaster recovery effort as of Nov. 23:
More than 225,000 New Yorkers have contacted FEMA for information or registered for assistance with FEMA and nearly $633 million has been approved. Almost 116,000 have applied through the online application site at www.disasterassistance.gov, or on their smart phone at m.fema.gov.
36 Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open in the affected areas. These include mobile sites as well as fixed sites, and to date more than 47,000 survivors have been assisted at DRCs in New York.
Nearly 1,300 inspectors in the field have completed almost 123,000 home inspections.
1,067 Community Relations (CR) specialists are strategically positioned throughout affected communities, going door to door explaining the types of disaster assistance available and how to register. More teams continue to arrive daily.
9 fixed feeding sites are being operated by the New York City Office of Emergency Management.
4 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs), 1 Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) and 1 National Veterinary Response Team (NVRT) from the Department of Health and Human Services remain deployed in New York.
13 New York counties are designated for both individual and public assistance, including: Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has staff members at 18 Business Recovery Centers in the New York area to provide one-on-one help to business owners seeking disaster assistance and has approved more than $18.7 million in disaster loans to both individuals and businesses.
Individuals can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smart phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362. Multilingual telephone operators are available to help non-English-speaking survivors register for disaster aid and to get their questions answered. After dialing FEMA’s registration/helpline callers should choose Option 3. FEMA can provide translation/interpretation services over the phone.
People who have a speech disability or hearing impairment can call TTY 800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362.
The toll-free telephone numbers operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.
“…….Amid the worst hurricane to hit New York City in nearly 80 years, the home, the Promenade Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, failed to provide the most basic care to its patients, according to interviews with five employees, federal, city and hospital officials, and shelter directors.
Although nursing home officials say they cannot be blamed for what happened, the State Health Department has opened an investigation into Promenade’s actions……”
Four NYC Hospitals Still Closed By Hurricane Sandy
By Fred Mogul, WNYC
Nov 18, 2012
Three weeks after Hurricane Sandy, four New York City hospitals remain closed for inpatients, leaving thousands of patients scrambling to find other medical centers to treat everything from broken bones to brain cancer. The closures of NYU Langone Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital Center, the Manhattan VA Medical Center, and Coney Island Hospital have meant more business for some nearby hospitals and an unwelcome extra burden for others.
Generators sit outside the NYU Medical Center after the Sandy superstorm on Oct. 31 (Photo by Matt Kane via Flickr).
St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital is in the former group. When the hospital, near Columbus Circle in Manhattan, opened a $21 million cardiac electrophysiology center in September, officials figured it would take months to build up enough patients to reach full capacity. The center’s state-of-the-art equipment helps doctors recalibrate faulty electrical impulses in the heart that cause arrhythmia. Before Sandy, there were about a dozen procedures a week, but now that displaced NYU doctors and patients are coming to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt, there are about 18 a week. Dr. Emad Aziz says that’s a big jump in a short amount of time, particularly for a complicated and expensive procedure that can take up to eight hours.
“We really wanted to accommodate them,” Aziz said. “And it turned out to be really nice. It’s a great opportunity on a personal level, to assist them in a time when they have that big damage.”
Of course, the closures have been a big problem for many patients and hospitals, too.
Eileen Wal, of Atlanta, is a breast cancer patient who planned to fly to New York next month for reconstructive surgery at NYU. After Sandy, her surgeon, Dr. Robert Allen, has nowhere else to operate locally. He also practices at Manhattan’s Eye and Ear Infirmary, but that hospital has been filled to capacity, thanks to the cascading effects of Sandy.
“They have no O.R. time available,” Wal said. “Now some may pop up, but if it does it would only be very last-minute. So the only people who could take advantage of it would be someone who’s local to New York.”
Fortunately for Wal, her surgeon spends half his time working and teaching at Ochsner Baptist Medical Center in New Orleans, so she can go there for the operation. But she’s not looking forward to spending time in The Big Easy.
“The surgery in New York was far easier for me logistically,” Wal said. “One, it has public transport, and, two, you walk out of your door of where you are, and you have food. You don’t have to deal with anything. It’s all very simple. New Orleans, basically, there’s nothing there. [The hospital] in the middle of nowhere.”
When it’s up and running, NYU performs about 2,700 inpatient procedures a month. Officials haven’t estimated how long Tisch Hospital, the core facility, will remain closed, but other medical centers are bracing for it to be months.
Lenox Hill Hospital, on the Upper East Side, was operating well under capacity before Sandy. It has about 600 beds, and daily occupancy was running “in the mid-400s,” according to Dr. Arthur Klein, regional executive director for North Shore-Long Island Jewish, Lenox Hill’s parent system. Since Sandy, there are about 100 additional inpatients a day, and the operating rooms stay booked well into the evening and on weekends. Lenox Hill, which has struggled financially, has fast-tracked admitting credentials to about 300 NYU doctors and is additionally employing close to 500 NYU nurses.
Nearby New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center is not so eager to take on more patients and isn’t credentialing NYU doctors. The CEO, Dr. Steven Corwin, says his hospital can barely keep pace with the increased number of people coming into the emergency room. And he’s concerned about what might happen in the event of a big public health crisis.
“If we were to have a significant flu season over the winter time, that would further hamper our ability to respond,” Corwin said.
Of the four closed hospitals, only NYU lacks a network and sister institutions to place patients. The Manhattan VA has transferred most of its inpatients to the Brooklyn VA.
Bellevue, the largest shuttered facility, and Coney Island are part of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, with nine other hospitals. Coney Island Hospital has recently reopened for 24-hour urgent care, specialty clinics and primary care clinics but its inpatient operation is still closed. Bellevue is planning to reopen “limited primary care outpatient services” on Monday, according to its website.
By all indications, the placement of NYU patients to other institutions has been piecemeal.
“I would’ve thought in this sort of situation that maybe FEMA or the [NYC Office of Emergency Management] would go straight in and look at the hospitals that are closed, grid out the patients, look at the potential services in a reasonable surrounding area, and put out suggestions based on that,” said Mike McCarry, head of perioperative services for Mt. Sinai Medical Center. “Maybe that’s happening, but if it is, it isn’t visible.”
Several of the hospitals taking in Sandy evacuees initially reported losing millions of dollars – with much of the shortfall the result of taking in Medicaid and uninsured patients from Bellevue and, in some cases, displaced nursing home residents.
But in the months ahead, those hospitals that take on NYU patients needing high-end inpatient procedures are likely to see a temporary surge in profits – and possibly win new long-term patients. And they could see millions of dollars a month they would not get, if NYU were open.
This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes WNYC, NPR and Kaiser Health News.
“….Haitians, who know well the death and despair natural disasters can cause, suffered mightily from Hurricane Sandy, which bashed the country’s rural areas and killed at least 54 people.
Three weeks after the hurricane’s deluge, Haiti, still struggling to recover from the earthquake in January 2010, is facing its biggest blow to reconstruction and slipping deeper into crisis, United Nations and government officials say, with hundreds of thousands of others at risk of hunger or malnutrition…..”
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Saturday, November 17, 2012 -- 5:07 PM EST
New York City Will Demolish Hundreds of Storm-Hit Homes
"About 200 homes in the neighborhoods hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy will be
razed after a grim assessment of the storm-ravaged coast revealed that many
structures were so damaged they pose a danger.....
The homes will be bulldozed in the coming days.......almost all
of them one- and two-family houses on Staten Island, in Queens and in Brooklyn.
That is in addition to 200 houses that are already partially or completely
burned down, washed away or otherwise damaged; those sites will also be cleared......"
By Leanne Italiemarilynn Marchione on October 30, 2012
“…..Margaret Chu, 36, of Manhattan, gave birth to a son, Cole, shortly before noon Monday.
“Then, a couple of hours later, things got a little hairy. The electricity started to flicker and the windows got shaky,” she said from LIJ’s Lenox Hill, where she was transported after generators failed and NYU was plunged into darkness.
Chu, accompanied by husband Gregory Prata, was able to walk 13 flights into a waiting ambulance with help from staff and first responders lighting the way by flashlight. She said other women who had given birth during the storm were carried down on sleigh-like gurneys……”
Seaside Heights, N.J., Nov. 12, 2012 — The iconic roller coaster that had been part of the Seaside Heights boardwalk for over 70 years sits in the Atlantic Ocean after Hurricane Sandy swept through the area and pushed the roller coaster into the ocean. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA
“……Power companies in New York and New Jersey worked on Monday to free these remaining communities from the stubborn blackout. There was progress, with housing projects in Coney Island and the Rockaways flickering to life on Saturday and Sunday. There was light, if not heat. Families that had warmed their apartments with stovetop burners could now use the electric oven, with its door wide open. A woman used the burner for its intended purpose on Monday morning, handing her granddaughter a pancake on a paper plate…”
Federal Disaster Assistance Anyone affected by Sandy (homeowners, renters, and businesses) can apply for federal disaster assistance. Register at disasterassistance.gov or by calling FEMA at 800-621-3362 (FEMA) Before you call, be sure to have the following information ready:
Address of affected property
Social Security number
Locate a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. Disaster Recovery Centers are facilities where applicants may go for information about FEMA or other disaster assistance programs, or for questions related to their cases.
City Disaster Assistance
The City of New York Restoration Centers are now open. Learn more.
NYC Rapid Repairs
NYC Rapid Repairs is a program to make your home safe for return. The City is working with contractors to assess damage to your home from Hurricane Sandy and make the necessary repairs so that you and your family can safely return home. NYC Rapid Repairs is a program for property owners. Learn more about NYC Rapid Repairs. Register for NYC Rapid Repairs.
Gas Shortage Mayor Bloomberg has signed an emergency order to establish an odd-even license plate system for gasoline and diesel purchases to reduce wait times and lines at gas stations in the five boroughs. The odd-even system went into effect Friday, November 9. Read more.
Electricity Visit coned.com for the latest on the restoration efforts. To report a loss of electric service, contact Con Edison at 1-800-75-CONED (26633) or online at ConEd.com.
Temporary Housing Air BNB, an online service that connects people seeking temporary housing with those who have unused space, has launched a new platform to link New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy to New Yorkers who want to offer places to stay. Air BNB is providing with service at no fee, and information is available at airbnb.com/sandy.
The City tap water is safe for drinking with the exception of Breezy Point. In Breezy Point, the water is NOT drinkable, even after boiling. The City is providing Breezy Point residents with safe drinking water from portable water stations and from bottled water distribution sites. Learn more.
Bellevue Hospital and Coney Island Hospital inpatient services and emergency rooms remain closed until further notice. Visit the HHC’s website for more details.
Garbage & Recycling Collection The Department of Sanitation will continue to clean up debris from Hurricane Sandy. Learn more.
Beginning November 12, the Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel will open to buses only, during specific time frames. Manhattan-bound bus travel will be permitted from 6 am to 10 am, and Brooklyn-bound bus travel will be permitted from 3 pm to 7 pm. The tunnel is not currently open to private vehicles. Learn more.
The Queens Midtown Tunnel is now open, but no trucks are allowed until further notice.
The Holland Tunnel is open for normal traffic operations in both directions. Autos, buses, and 2- and 3-axle trucks are allowed. No tractor trailers allowed. Get the details.
The Cross Bay Bridge may be subject to periodic closures into the Rockaways for emergency vehicles and equipment. Learn more.
For the latest subway, LIRR, and Metro-North information, visit www.mta.info.
Alternate Side Parking (street cleaning) regulations will be suspended on Tuesday, November 13 for observance of Diwali. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.
For the latest on NJ Transit service, visit the NJ Transit website. Learn more.
Business Recovery Information
New York City, including the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), is coordinating a set of services to assist small businesses in recovering from Hurricane Sandy. For more information, please call 311 and ask for NYC Business Solutions. Learn more.
The Dept. of Health advises that direct contact with the water at Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay, and the Kill Van Kull for recreational activities should be avoided until further notice due to untreated wastewater being discharged into the NYC waterways. Learn more.
Website and Shelter Accessibility
If you are having trouble accessing this site, please call 311. If you need to determine whether you are in Zone A, or where the closest evacuation/shelter centers are to your location, please call 311. Every shelter has an entrance usable by people who use wheelchairs. Staff at the shelter will assess your needs and if they cannot be met there all efforts will be taken to meet them elsewhere.
“Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck, the vital arteries that bring cars, trucks and subways into New York City’s transportation network have recovered, with one major exception: the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel remains closed……..Unlike a number of other tunnels around the world, the Brooklyn-Battery does not have even a basic system to block water at its entrances. No gates or plugs or other barriers. Nor do Manhattan’s other tunnels. Defenseless under the storm’s ravages, the Brooklyn-Battery instead served as a drain for Lower Manhattan, filling with nearly 100 million gallons of water……”