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Tropical Storm Irene disaster relief deadline approaching

Applications must be in by Dec. 15

December 2, 2011
By CHRIS MORRIS - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

North Country residents impacted by Tropical Storm Irene have just two weeks to file applications for disaster relief.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the deadline twice already, but Dec. 15 is now the official cutoff date for submitting disaster assistance applications.

FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund contains funding for public and individual assistance in both Essex and Clinton counties. The funds cover home repair, temporary housing, grants for disaster-related problems and other expenses not picked up by insurance companies.

FEMA representative Panagiotis "Peter" Lembessis told the Enterprise this morning there won't be anymore extensions to the filing deadline.

"This is it," he said.

Lembessis said FEMA's community relations team and regional media outlets have done a good job at getting the word out about individual and public assistance.

"We don't expect people to be left out," he said. "We can address most of the areas that were impacted. We believe that in the little time there is that's left to apply, we can get everyone that needs help. I urge people to go ahead and register."

As of today, FEMA has approved nearly $93 million in relief funding for more than 42,000 New Yorkers. In Essex County, more than $2 million has been distributed to 570 applicants. In neighboring Clinton County, 416 individuals have received about $713,000.

Lawmakers like U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are also urging homeowners and businesses to apply before it's too late.

"It's time to put all necessary resources on the ground where we need them to bring relief," she said in a prepared statement. "We need to help our families, farmers, businesses and communities recover."

There's also still time for municipalities and nonprofits to apply for aid. Public assistance can be used for debris removal, cleanup, emergency protective measures and infrastructure repairs.

To apply for FEMA relief, call 1-800-621-3362 or visit or

Businesses can apply for zero- and low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration by calling 1-800-659-2955 or by visiting



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