WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Sunday approved New York’s emergency declaration, making the state eligible for federal disaster relief aid in response to Tropical Storm Henri.
Biden, speaking from the White House, said despite the storm being downgraded from a hurricane, the federal government was still taking the storm's potential impact "seriously" because of its size, "the storm's surge, and the rainfall it's producing."
"We don't know the full extent of the storm’s impacts, but we're acting to prepare for, and prevent damage as much as possible," Biden said.
Biden’s approval comes a day after outgoing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called on the president to authorize an emergency declaration permitting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to "provide emergency protective measures."
The White House in a statement said Biden’s approval "authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population."
The president said FEMA had "already prepositioned resources in the region" ahead of the storm including food, water, and generators.
"Preparations are in place to address significant power outages, and resources and support is staged at the edge of this storm to be able to move quickly in to help," Biden said.
Biden said he also approved emergency declarations requested by Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Cuomo in a statement acknowledged the approval of the federal disaster declaration for the state and said he was directing "state agencies to deploy additional emergency response assets to areas likely to be impacted by this storm."
The president on Saturday convened a conference call with governors from states expected to be impacted by Henri. Both Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will be sworn in as governor on Tuesday, were on the call, according to the White House.
Hochul in a tweet after the call said Biden "stressed full federal government cooperation & commitment."
The president on Sunday said FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell was already familiar with the needs of the region, having served as commissioner of New York City Emergency Management.