Obama Declares Disaster in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island

Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 3:59 PM EDT
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President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in New York City following last month's deadly storm that spawned two devastating tornadoes, killing one woman and causing massive damage.

Gov. David Paterson announced Thursday that Obama issued the federal disaster declaration for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The declaration clears the way for an influx of federal funds to pay for up to 75 percent of the response, debris removal and repairs to public property.

Keep in mind this funding does not apply to debris removed from private property. For instance, a homeowner forced to clear a massive tree from his or her front lawn does not get any reimbursement from the federal government. Paterson said a separate request involving private property remains on the table.

“I want to thank President Obama for dispatching a team to survey the damage and for quickly reviewing New York City's case," said Mayor Bloomberg. "I also want to thank the hundreds of New Yorkers who picked up trees and branches in their neighborhoods and also those who called 311 to report storm damage."

Federal and state inspectors have estimated the damage and cleanup costs at $27 million.

The Sept. 16 storm barreled across the three boroughs, toppling thousands of trees. A macroburst with winds up to 125 mph added to the destruction.

One tree came down on the parked car where Iline Levakis was sitting, killing her.

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