(Newsroom America) -- FEMA says in the six months since Hurricane Sandy made landfall, significant progress has been made in New York’s recovery.
It says nearly all of the debris is gone, many survivors have returned to their homes and repaired or replaced damaged or destroyed personal property and businesses are reopening.
Many public schools, libraries, community centers and other institutions have reopened, including New York University Langone Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital and Coney Island Hospital.
In February, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released advisory flood-risk data to help homeowners, business owners and public facilities plan for future flood events.
Bellevue Hospital is among the facilities that are already using the Advisory Base Flood Elevation data to protect themselves from future flooding.
“New York has made tremendous progress in the six months since Sandy,” said Michael F. Byrne, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for Hurricane Sandy operations.
“But the work is not done. We are working with our state and local partners to apply mitigation measures to ensure that New York is better able to withstand future storms.”
The whole community is involved in the recovery effort, including local, state, federal and tribal, the private sector and voluntary and faith-based organizations.
So far, more than $6.6 billion has been provided in disaster assistance to individuals and families, low-interest disaster loans, flood-insurance claims payments and funding for debris removal, repair or replacement of public facilities and reimbursement for emergency expenses.
FEMA has approved more than $959 million for individuals and households in New York to help eligible survivors with home repairs, temporary rental costs and other uninsured hurricane-related losses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved low-interest disaster loans totaling more than $1.4 billion for nearly 22,000 homeowners, renters and businesses.
The National Flood Insurance Program has paid nearly $3.4 billion in claims to 56,766 policyholders.
Debris removal, essential to rebuilding neighborhoods, is nearly 95 percent complete. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local and state agencies have cleaned up nearly 5.7 million of the estimated 6 million cubic yards of debris.
FEMA has approved more than $848 million in Public Assistance grants to reimburse state, tribal and local governments and eligible private nonprofits for costs related to emergency response, debris removal and repairing or rebuilding damaged public facilities, among other expenses.
These grants include more than $114 million to New York University Langone Medical Center for temporary repairs, patient evacuation and other emergency-related expenses; $5.1 million to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to repair or reconstruct 16 pump stations; and $3.8 million to Long Beach Public Schools for repairs to the district’s elementary, middle and high schools.
More than 21,000 families were able to remain in their storm-damaged homes while repairs were made because of the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power program, operated by local governments and funded by FEMA.
Because of a shortage of rental housing, 5,933 individuals and families have been housed temporarily in hotel rooms under the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program
Six months after the storm, nearly 1,500 FEMA personnel are on the job in New York, including nearly 400 local residents hired to help with recovery operations.
Storm survivors continue to receive face-to-face help in the recovery process at disaster recovery centers. To date, there have been more than 181,000 visits to the centers.