Hurricane Sandy Resources: Information for Disaster Survivors and Recovering Communities

FEMA continues to lead the Federal government's effort to provide assistance and support to States affected by Hurricane Sandy, ensuring Federal agencies and their public and private partners continue to provide all available resources to State, local, and tribal communities in affected areas. This page lists helpful resources to support recovery and rebuilding efforts by individuals, business owners and communities affected by Sandy.

General Information

FEMA’s Hurricane Sandy homepage provides the latest information on available FEMA assistance and recovery initiatives with materials in nine different languages. Additional information for New Jersey residents is available through the State of New Jersey’s Hurricane Sandy Information Center. Additional information for New York residents is available through the NYC Severe Weather webpage. Information is also available from FEMA about the disaster process, disaster aid programs, hazard mitigation grant and loan programs and FEMA's whole community approach to emergency management.
To learn more about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or to find an insurance agent, visit or call 1-888-229-0437. If your home or business has been damaged by flooding, you may be required to meet certain building requirements in your community to reduce future flood damage before you repair or rebuild.  To help you cover the costs of meeting those requirements, the NFIP makes available Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage for all new and renewed standard flood insurance policies.  Additional information about ICC coverage is available in the following brochure:

    Increased Cost of Compliance:  How You Can Benefit
On July 6, 2012, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act (BW-12) took effect which made significant reforms to the NFIP.  The fact sheet Changes in the Flood Insurance Program:  Preliminary Considerations for Rebuilding provides information on these changes.  FEMA’s Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 Homepage is a comprehensive source of information about BW-12 and includes answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

FEMA Flood Hazard Data for Rebuilding and Recovery Efforts

Prior to Sandy, FEMA was restudying areas of the New Jersey and New York coastlines to update flood hazards shown on NFIP Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) in these areas. These updated maps were set to be delivered to State and local officials in mid-2013. Soon after Sandy, FEMA released Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps based on the partially completed flood study for certain communities to help in rebuilding and recovery efforts. FEMA is now in the process of releasing the following maps:
  • Preliminary work maps:  an interim product that FEMA is sharing with communities in advance of the release of preliminary FIRMs.  These maps represent the same coastal flood elevation and zone data as the preliminary FIRMs.  However, for most communities, the preliminary work maps depict coastal flood hazard areas only and will not include riverine flood hazards in the community.  Learn more through the Preliminary Work Map FAQ.
  • Preliminary FIRMs:  the preliminary FIRMs will show the same coastal flood hazards as shown on the preliminary work maps.  However, the FIRMs will also show any riverine flood hazards in the community in addition to coastal flood hazards.  Learn more through the Preliminary FIRM FAQ.
Note that the stage of processing of the coastal flood study will vary by community.  For example, FEMA has released the preliminary FIRMs for certain communities already.  However, in others, either the ABFE maps or the preliminary work maps remain the most recent flood hazard data released to date, until the preliminary FIRMs are distributed.  Learn which maps have been released for your community on the View FEMA Flood Hazard Data page.  To learn more about these different mapping products, visit the Using FEMA Flood Hazard Data page.

Guidance for Reconstruction Efforts

For more information about how to build safer and stronger and to potentially decrease your flood insurance premiums, download the FEMA Hurricane Sandy Building Science fact sheet. More information on recent changes to the NFIP that should be considered when rebuilding is available in the fact sheet Changes in the Flood Insurance Program:  Preliminary Considerations for Rebuilding.
Buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area that are determined to be substantially damaged or improved must be brought into compliance with the minimum requirements of the community's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)-compliant floodplain management laws or ordinances.   Communities participating in the NFIP often have difficulty determining whether buildings are substantially damaged.  This difficulty is magnified after a major flood or other disaster where a large number of buildings have been damaged and there is a need to provide timely substantial damage determinations so that reconstruction can begin.  The Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE) software was developed to assist State and local officials in estimating building value and costs to repair residential and non-residential buildings and is available for download at no cost.  The reference document Substantial Damage Estimator Best Practices is also available online.

Recovery advisory bulletins are being developed by FEMA's Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) studying the damages from Hurricane Sandy. They offer mitigation measures that could be taken to minimize damage to buildings.  The entire series of recovery advisory bulletins is currently available online.

Before building, property and business owners should consult their local government officials to determine the local building code, permit, and mandatory elevation requirements for their home or building.

Additional Resources

  • Interactive Maps


Questions or comments?  Call the National Flood Insurance Program Help Center at 1-800-427-4661 or visit our Contacts page to find the right subject matter expert.