Hurricane Sandy Recovery

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App: FEMA Disaster Response

Learn how to respond to disasters; keep your family safe; apply for assistance; and help others in case of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism, or other disasters.

App: Hurricane by Red Cross

Find help and let others know you are safe, even if the power is out; monitor conditions in your area; and learn to prepare your family and home.

Hurricane Scams and Fraud

Disaster Recovery Scams Prey on Victims and Donors

November 2, 2012

Scams often follow disasters. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns to expect scams that prey on disaster victims in need of assistance and generous Americans hoping to contribute to the recovery. Fraudsters target disaster-affected areas, hoping to cash in on property owners’ insurance settlements and financial relief from the federal government. Follow our tips to avoid hurricane scams and frauds.

Get Help

  • Register for Assistance: Survivors in declared counties can use to apply for assistance and check the status of your application online. The portal is a clearinghouse of more than 70 forms of assistance from 17 federal agencies and is accessible via Web-enabled mobile devices.
  • Find Housing - The Department of Housing and Urban Development has help for people displaced by the storm, steps to take for a storm damaged home, and contacts if you feel you have experienced housing discrimination.
  • Wreckage Removal - State and local governments who are public assistance applicants may be reimbursed by the Department of Homeland Security for the salaries and benefits of employees involved in cleanup efforts.
  • Avoid Disaster Scams - Learn how to avoid charity and home repair cams after a disaster, from the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Guides for Rebuilding - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers disaster recovery guides for builders.
  • Food Assistance - USDA provides food to disaster relief organizations for people affected by a disaster. It also offers grants for rural communities with water quality and supply issues, and assistance to farmers and others for natural disaster losses.
  • Business Loans – Your business may be eligible for disaster assistance from the Small Business Administration.
  • Government Contracting – The General Services Administration helps federal, state, and local governments get supplies, equipment, and services needed to support disaster relief.

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Health and Safety

Safety is a primary issue when you're recovering from a disaster. Follow these tips to help ensure your safety and cope with the disaster. If you aren't able to return home, states, tribes, localities, and the Red Cross continue to operate emergency shelters along the East Coast. Here's how to find shelter:

  • Stay informed about the federal public health response and recovery effort, food and water safety, preventing disease and injury, safe clean-up, sanitation, and mental health resources.
  • Monitor conditions in your area; find shelter; and let others know you are safe, with the Red Cross Hurricane App.
  • Download the FEMA app to find a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers.
  • Call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
  • Search for shelters via text message: text: SHELTER and your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA). For example: Shelter 01234 (standard rates apply).
  • Check local news media outlets.

Responders: People working on clean-up and helping disaster survivors also need to be concerned about their health and safety. The Department of Labor offers technical assistance and resources to help protect the occupational safety and health of workers in disaster areas.

Cancer patients can have can have weakened immune systems and may be at higher risk for infections, bleeding, fatigue, and injury. Call 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) to learn where to receive care if a disaster event disrupts care or displaces patients.

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Find Family and Friends

  • Red Cross Safe and Well List  – During a disaster, register yourself as "safe and well" so that family and friends know of your well-being. You can also use the database to search for missing loved ones.
  • Next of Kin National Registry  – Register with, or search, this emergency contact system if you or your family member is missing, injured, or deceased.
  • International Evacuees and Foreign Nationals  – If you are a tourist or other foreign national and cannot reach family members directly, contact your consulate.

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Donate and Volunteer

Donate Blood caused the cancellation of hundreds of Red Cross blood drives, resulting in a shortage of blood and platelets.

Cash donations are very useful in situations where supplies must be acquired quickly. This is the most efficient way to make an impact with your donations. If you need help in determining who to give to, the National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster website has a list of major nonprofits that are active in disaster work or you can make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.

Volunteer - Affiliate with existing non-profit organizations before going to the disaster area. Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way. Be patient: Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months.

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What Government is Doing

Help from the Government

  • Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force - The Task Force will coordinate long-term rebuilding plans for the affected region and its infrastructure.
  • Safety and Cleanup - The US Environmental Protection Agency is checking areas affected by Hurricane Sandy for potential contamination, and offers safety and cleanup information for parents, homeowners, communities and local governments, and builders.
  • Federal Building Closures  – The General Services Administration provides a list of closed federal facilities in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.
  • Social Security Office Closures  – If your local Social Security office is closed, there may be other ways to complete your business.
  • Power Restoration  – The Department of Energy is supporting utility power restoration.
  • Federal Communications Commission  – View notices on filing deadlines and information on the commission’s efforts to support the recovery of communications infrastructure.
  • Restoring Wildlife Refuges  – The Fish and Wildlife Service is working to assess damage to National Wildlife Refuges, and restore storm damaged areas for safe public access.
  • Customs and Border Protection - News, photos and videos of Customs and Border Protection officers resume work in New York and New Jersey.
  • Federal Employees and Retirees - The Office of Personnel Management has information about leave and pay for federal employees and retirees.

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Hurricane Sandy Widget

To use the widget on your own site, copy the code below and paste it onto your web page:

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Government Resources to Help You Recover 
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