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Three Suffolk supervisors ask Gov. Cuomo to request federal assistance

The supervisors of three Suffolk County towns that were hardest hit by flash floods from an Aug. 13 rainstorm have asked Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to request a federal disaster declaration.

An Aug. 27 letter from Tom Croci of Islip, Richard Schaffer of Babylon and Edward P. Romaine of Brookhaven said a declaration by President Barack Obama would help the towns and residents recover from a storm that dumped a state-record 13.57 inches of rain at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.

Islip officials have said the storm caused about $20 million in damage.

Brookhaven's estimate is about $15 million.

A Babylon figure was not available Friday.

The one-page letter said many residents need federal financial aid because they did not have flood insurance to pay for cleaning out basements and repairing sinkholes.

"Most of the residents impacted by this storm are being forced to shoulder the immense financial burden associated with its aftermath," the supervisors wrote. "We need the federal government to provide these residents with the assistance they desperately need so that they can begin to rebuild, and recover from this disaster."

A Cuomo spokeswoman said Friday the governor is awaiting damage assessments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency before requesting federal aid.

"The governor's office has been aggressive in assisting Suffolk County since the recent storm and floods," spokeswoman Dani Lever said in an email. "State officials immediately began damage assessments, set up a mobile command center, requested the federal government come in to review storm impacts, and once FEMA completes its damage report, the governor will quickly evaluate it."

FEMA spokesman Don Caetano said Friday he did not know when FEMA will complete its report to Cuomo.

The agency plans to inspect additional damage sites next week.

"We're still in the process of doing assessments of storm damage," Caetano said. "We're going to look as long as the state has something they want to show us and want us to add to the assessment."

Romaine said in an interview that Brookhaven may struggle to pay cleanup costs from the storm.

"We're concerned because we are worried how we are going to balance this budget," Romaine said in an interview. "There's a lot of people who got wiped out."

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