President Bush will send disaster relief funds to victims of the Aug. 8 storm that unleashed a tornado on Bay Ridge — but the White House is only sending money to Queens, not Brooklyn.
As you might imagine, local officials in Bay Ridge are buzzing like a Category 1 twister.
“People are having difficulty recovering from the tornado because the process for making a decision has been too slow,” said Rep. Vito Fossella (R–Bay Ridge), who had urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency — and his fellow Republican at the head of the executive branch — to do the right thing by Bay Ridge.
Hundreds of cars, houses and roofs were damaged or destroyed by the tornado’s 136-mile-per-hour winds that touched down around 67th Street between Fourth and Seventh avenues.
The tornado may have touched down in Bay Ridge, but Queens, not Brooklyn, bore the brunt of the damage, said FEMA spokeswoman Barbara Lynch.
“The borough of Queens was really in a lot worse shape,” said Lynch. “That’s why residents of Queens will be the only ones eligible for the aid at this time.”
Indeed, news coverage of the storm did focus on the first-ever tornado in Bay Ridge, but in Queens, more than 1,300 homes were damaged, compared to 80 in Brooklyn. There was also extensive flooding in Queens.
Lynch said that Brooklyn could still get a piece of the federal relief pie, but as in the Sept. 1 relief announcement, that decision must be made by the president.
Fossella met with FEMA officials last Friday and demanded a recount.
“I spoke with top officials to express the community’s frustration,” said Fossella.
The agency agreed to Fossella’s request to re-examine how and where the relief money was allocated.