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Many Long Island homes in FEMA-designated flood zones may need to be elevated to prevent damage from future storms, the Obama administration’s point man on Sandy reconstruction said at a news conference in Bethpage on Tuesday.
Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, the chairman of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, said the administration expects to spend $14 billion on storm mitigation, strengthening homes and infrastructure throughout the region.
HUD officials said more than 19,300 homes in Nassau and more than 4,400 homes in Suffolk suffered more than one foot of flood water on the first floor.
“Sandy will be one of the most costly and devastating disasters in the history of our country,” Donovan said at Nassau’s Office of Emergency Management as he was flanked by political leaders from both counties. “We will not rebuild in a day or a week or a month. But we will be here for the years that it takes to rebuild.”
President Barack Obama has called on Congress to approve a $60 billion supplemental appropriation for Sandy relief although some Senate Republicans have called for a smaller, short-term aide package. HUD officials said it's too early to know how much of the $60 billion would go to Long Island.
Donovan added that for every dollar spent on storm prevention, the federal government saves $4 on the next storm.
Photo: HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, center, President Obama's point man for the Sandy recovery effort, flanked by Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, left, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. (Dec. 18, 2012)