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Federal aid available to Sandy victims in Nassau, Suffolk

Floodwaters swamp houses and businesses along Fire Island

Floodwaters swamp houses and businesses along Fire Island Avenue in Babylon Village due to superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

Federal disaster aid is available to Nassau and Suffolk counties as residents and business owners try to climb out of the damage caused by "Frankenstorm" Sandy, a federal agency said Wednesday.

With President Barack Obama declaring the superstorm a major disaster for the state, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency said federal aid for New York has been made available and will supplement state and local recovery efforts retroactive to Oct. 27.

The president's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Nassau and Suffolk, plus the Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond and Queens counties.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, according to a news release.

Federal funding can be used by state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for the eligible counties, the release said.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Michael F. Byrne, who was named the coordinating officer for recovery operations in the affected area, said damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.

Those who sustained losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance by registering online at disasterassistance.gov, by Web-enabled mobile device at fema.gov. They also can register by calling 800-621-3362 (or 800-462-7585 TTY for the hearing and speech impaired) daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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