History Shows Fed Money Came in Big for Upstate Disasters

FEMA praises Gov. Andrew Cuomo's preparation for storm

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    NEWSLETTERS

    News4's Greg Cergol visits a park in Merrick, Long Island where state insurance officials have set up shop to offer advice to flood victims. For information on whether you're eligible for aid, visit disasterassistance.gov.

    If history is any indication, upstate New Yorkers slammed by Tropical Storm Irene may be able to draw some comfort by the federal and state response to the devastating 1998 ice storm.

     

    "I don't recall any disfavor with the Federal Emergency Management Administration or the state," said Clyde Rabideau, who was mayor of Plattsburgh at the time and is now mayor of Saranac Lake. "There were no complaints at all that I can recall."

     

    Thousands of people who shivered through the January storm and relied on generators were worried then, too, if the federal and state government would come through with relief aid to get them back on their feet.

     

    Besides state resources to municipalities, FEMA said it provided $6.9 million to 7,254 residents who registered for housing aid. Another $9 million went to individual and family grants for 14,670 people.

     

    The federal Small Business Administration provided more loans.

     

    "FEMA was right there for the municipality," Rabideau said.

     

    So far, Rabideau said he thinks the state and FEMA are on track for another good performance, praising Gov. Andrew Cuomo's preparation for the storm that surprisingly turned on upstate and largely spared New York City and Long Island.