At least 27 people have died in Erie County, New York, as a result of a massive winter storm that ravaged much of the United States in recent days, county officials said Monday, raising the death toll across the board. the country to 49.
The updated death toll in Erie County, which includes the city of Buffalo, comes as parts of western New York remain buried by up to four feet of snow, trapping vehicles and cutting power for thousands over the holidays. Christmas, just a month after the region was hit by a historic snowstorm.
President Joe Biden approved the emergency declaration for New York on Monday.
Its decision authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “to coordinate all disaster relief efforts intended to alleviate hardship and suffering caused by the emergency in the local population, and to provide adequate assistance for necessary emergency measures,” the White House said in a statement.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul had officially submitted the request to President Joe Biden for a federal emergency declaration covering Erie and Genesee counties, according to a news release from her office.