The deadline to apply for recovery aid tied to Tropical Storm Irene has been extended by about a month and a half.
Panagiotis "Peter" Lembessis, a representative for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Enterprise this morning the deadline to apply for individual assistance is now Dec. 15.
"We believe that the victims are still assessing damages and in my experience, a lot of people, especially in New York, take it on themselves to fix things," he said. "People here are very resilient; they prefer to grab a hammer and a nail and do it themselves."
Lembessis credited North Country residents for their toughness, but he noted that homeowners with severe damage often start doing repairs on their own and find out later the task is bigger than they realized. He also said that some people may have been traveling and returned to find damage.
"They may just be assessing the damage now," Lembessis said. "And some people just procrastinate."
According to Lembessis, the state of New York requested the deadline extension, and FEMA obliged. He added that some counties have been granted disaster declarations for both tropical storms Irene and Lee.
"We did that to make things easier and take away any confusion," Lembessis said.
Lembessis said this will be the final deadline extension. He said registration is easier than people think.
"They do not need to rush and get everything together," Lembessis said. "They still think they might have to do that by the registration deadline. The truth is, as long as they register, they get the process going."
So far, close to 41,800 New Yorkers have received some $87 million in federal aid. Lembessis said that as of Monday, about $1,921,000 had been doled out to 562 people in Essex County.