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FEMA approves more than $200 million in Sandy assistance

Sandy damage

A little more than a week after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the east coast, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has approved more than $200 million in assistance money for than a quarter of a million people in the area.

As of 3 p.m. on Nov. 5, the agency said more than 234,000 individuals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have registered for assistance, and more than $210 million has been approved.

The total mounts as FEMA continues to open Disaster Recovery Shelters (DRCs) in the hardest hit areas and top Department of Homeland Security officials tour the area to meet with local lawmakers and emergency responders.

DRC offices and mobile units provide resources and guidance for residents who want to apply for FEMA and other disaster assistance programs.

Twelve mobile DRCs are now open in New York, two in New Jersey and three in Connecticut and more continue to open, said the Department of Homeland Security on Nov.5. The agency said it also plans additional recovery centers.

As the centers opened, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to New York on Nov. 5 to meet with state and local officials, first responders and volunteers to discuss ongoing response and recovery efforts.

In New York, Napolitano toured the Staten Island Ferry Terminal with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan to see to recovery efforts on the New York City transportation system caused.

Schumer had called for more DRCs to open in severely damaged neighborhoods like Lindenhurst, Mastic, Islip, Red Hook, Broad Channel, and the Lower East Side, saying lack of fuel made it difficult for residents in those areas to travel to DRCs.

Napolitano also went to Brooklyn and Coney Island, where she visited the Seagate Community and a Point of Distribution (POD) site and Disaster Recovery Center with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Reps. Maloney and Nadler, New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn, and other state and local officials, and received a briefing on response and recovery efforts.