BUFFALO, N.Y. (RELEASE) - Congressman Brian Higgins has formally requested a federaldisaster declaration for the flood-ravaged Southern Tier and theNational Guard is already joining the relief effort.
The following is a copy of the letter sent to PresidentObama.
Hon. Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
Dear Mr. President:
I write today to respectfully request a presidential disasterdeclaration for areas in Western New York which were inundatedearlier this week, and that this declaration provide for assistanceunder both the Public Assistance (PA) program and the IndividualAssistance (IA) program.
Yesterday, I toured the extensive damage at the Silver Villagemobile community in Silver Creek, NY. There, approximately 35residences were made uninhabitable. In that mobile community, morehomes than not were torn off of their foundations and several wereflipped on their sides, completely collapsed or washed awayaltogether. There I met Barb Amrozowicz, whose courage and quickthinking in waking, evacuating and accounting for her neighborsundoubtedly saved lives. I was heartened to see the resilience ofthe survivors of this devastation but saddened by the awarenessthat they had just lost, in many cases, virtually everything theyowned.
I also walked down Oliver Place, Rix Place and Dana Place in theVillage of Silver Creek, NY. There, I met with neighbors who werecleaning up mud and debris despite their homes having beencondemned in many cases. I met with families whose homesrepresented the bulk of their savings and who were facing resultantfinancial losses from which they would not likely recover.
I was also briefed by elected officials and emergency servicepersonnel regarding the widespread devastation in the Village ofGowanda, NY. There, homes, businesses and municipal facilitiessuffered extensive damage as the raging waters of the flood-swelledCattaraugus deposited thick, slimy alluvial sediment throughoutmuch of the village’s downtown area. Flood damage wassuffered in numerous other nearby communities, including but notlimited to the town of Brant, Sunset Bay, Hanford Bay, the town ofKiantone, the town of North Collins and the City of Jamestown.
In my survey of the damage, I was universally impressed by theprofessionalism, determination and coordination of the firstresponders and municipal leaders I encountered. I was encouraged bythe determination and resilience of the residents of the floodedareas whom I met. I was also pleased to see that the federalgovernment was actively engaged in the early stages of recoverythrough the active participation of personnel from the UnitedStates Coast Guard Sector Buffalo in the recovery effortyesterday.
I understand that teams from FEMA and the New York StateEmergency Management Office (SEMO) will tomorrow begin conductingdamage assessments in the effected areas. Data from theseassessments will inform a formal request for a declaration from theState of New York to the federal government.
Having witnessed this devastation firsthand, I anticipate, andwill encourage, that the state’s formal request will includea request for both PA and IA aid, and I again respectfully requestthat this aid be granted to these hard-hit communities.
Thank you very much for your leadership and yourconsideration.
Member of Congress
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