The director of the federal disaster assistance center in downtown Buffalo expects to start getting more than 2,000 calls per day from victims of Superstorm Sandy once roads are cleared, power is restored, and “activity begins to peak.”
William Leggiero Jr. said that 32 percent of all calls on any declared disaster typically come in during the first 30 days, and 90 percent within the first three months. He said he expects the call volume “to increase steadily over the next several weeks.”
And now that most of the call volume has finished up from prior disasters, particularly Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico over the summer, he said almost all of the center’s calls in the next 90 days or so will stem from Sandy.
So far, only New York and New Jersey have been declared federal disaster areas, but “it is likely that more declarations will come as damage assessments are completed,” he said.
He activated 26 additional “reserve” staffers this week to handle the increased volume. They will undergo training starting this morning through the weekend, while the center extends to seven days a week.
He said he also may active additional reservists for “field duty” to help the Disaster Assistance Field Operations Center East in Atlanta, by traveling to damaged areas to meet in person with individuals or businesses seeking financial help.