Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered Long Beach residents some semblance of hope on Wednesday after Hurricane Sandy battered the city, saying, “We’re all going to work together now to do what we need to do in terms of reconstruction.”
Sandy decimated Long Beach when it hit on Monday, destroying or severely damaging homes and the iconic boardwalk, eroding the beaches and rendering the city’s power, water and sewer services useless. The storm claimed 26 lives across the state, Cuomo said, and displaced thousands of residents in Long Beach.
At a news conference at National Boulevard and West Broadway on Wednesday, Cuomo also said that devastated homeowners would receive some financial relief. He said he had been told that the federal government would provide the maximum reimbursement rate for municipalities destroyed by the storm.
“They are going to reimburse the local governments for the cost of the
emergency,” he said. “So Long Beach, Nassau County and the state of New York will be reimbursed by the federal government.”
Cuomo also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has a reimbursement program for homeowners, which “started immediately.”
“So, if you’re a homeowner, you can apply for FEMA assistance now,” he said.
State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, County Executive Ed Mangano, City Manager Jack Schnirman and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos joined Cuomo at the press conference, after he took a helicopter tour of areas impacted by the storm.
Cuomo said that the first order of business in Long Beach — and across New York state — was to restore power, which he explained has been challenging because there have not been enough utility crews.
“You have other states that are competing for utility crews also,” Cuomo said. “The way it normally works is, there’s reciprocity when one state has a disaster, the other states send the utility workers. In this situation, there are so many states that have problems, the utility workers are spread thin.”
But, he added, 1,500 utility workers from areas upstate that were not affected are coming to help out on Long Island.