FEMA Maps Out Next Phase Of Sandy Recovery

By Spencer Raine, WBGO News
Hackensack. April 30, 2013

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FEMA officials attempted to steer community leaders in hard-hit Bergen County through the next phase of recovery from Superstorm Sandy.  During a question-and-answer session at the Bergen County Administration Building in Hackensack, four representatives from FEMA assured the audience they remain on target with plans to deliver their preliminary flood insurance maps in the coming weeks.  The final version is expected to be unveiled in September.  Officials say the maps stand to determine the next piece in the recovery puzzle by pinpointing flood zones.  This will likely influence insurance rates, qualifications for grants and other federal government money, not to mention community regulations which will likely guide rebuilding projects.

Officials shot down rumors that flood insurance rates were going to climb through the ceiling when the revised map work was complete.  Oakland Flood Commissioner Lew Levy, who was among the dozens of officials in attendance, thought this was going to be welcome news to residents in his community.

The FEMA panel answered a variety of hypotheticals such as the difference between an unsafe home and one that is substantially damaged.  They also tackled nuanced language which stands to make a difference.  For example, when a bank mentions that work is “needed,” it’s a far cry from a reference to work has been “requested.”

Above all else, FEMA reminded everyone that Wednesday, May 1st is the final deadline for a homeowner, a business owner or anyone planning to file for federal government assistance to sign up.  The deadline has been extended twice and will be gone for good by 5 p.m. Wednesday.


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