The Federal Emergency Management Agency overlooked Brooklyn in its declarations of disaster zones, which would have opened a much-needed spigot to federal funds for cleanup efforts following Hurricane Irene.
From the AP:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has identified 26 counties that saw “devastating effects” from last weekend’s storm. But six of those counties have not yet been declared disaster zones by the federal government. That list includes Brooklyn along with Columbia, Putnam, Orange, Sullivan and Washington counties.
Teams are still out assessing damage and those six could be eligible for relief funds soon.
New York City’s other four boroughs are already getting aid.
Federal funds could be used to help shore up the Belt Parkway where Plumb Beach has eroded, to repair subway infrastructure corroded by saltwater during the storm, or replace sidewalks where trees and utility poles were torn from the ground.
Predictably, Brooklyn leaders are outraged by the decision, saying Brooklyn was hit worse than most of the other boroughs, and they hope the county of Kings will be added to the disaster list soon. Borough President Marty Markowitz issued the following statement:
This weekend all New Yorkers came together, prepared for, and fought through a tough storm. Our ‘Brooklyn Attitude’ allowed us to bounce back quickly and our city was open for business Monday morning.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done to recover from Hurricane Irene. In Brooklyn, hundreds of trees were knocked down, doing significant damage to cars, homes and infrastructure, and some Brooklynites remain without power. Brooklyn’s low-lying ‘Zone A’ neighborhoods that were evacuated saw significant flooding, including Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Coney Island, Red Hook, DUMBO and Williamsburg. Just yesterday, it was discovered that a section of the BQE may be unstable as a result of storm damage and will need urgent repair. The storm even made landfall at Coney Island.
Given these facts, I am absolutely dumbfounded that federal officials have excluded Kings County from a disaster declaration for public assistance. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg for requesting this help, and hope that FEMA immediately reverses this dreadful decision and includes Brooklyn.
What do you think? Was Brooklyn screwed? Or do other boroughs deserve it more?