The Times
  • Flood recovery process continues in Herkimer, Oneida counties

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  • Flood victims attended an open meeting of the Herkimer Oneida Organizations Active in Disaster Long Term Recovery Group on Wednesday to get some answers regarding their own recovery.
    Patsy Glista, with Lutheran Disaster Response and a HOOAD member, talked about the immediate response to the flooding that devastated the region on June 28, including the response of firefighters, the evacuation of people from their homes and the funding provided by local, state and federal governments.
    “There are still many, many needs,” said Glista. “That’s where the long-term recovery process begins … It’s the local community that tries to figure out how do we fix this.”
    Glista said long-term recovery “is a process. It’s not necessarily geared toward having things exactly the way they were. It’s a process to help us move forward, into the new normal. It’s not ever going to look exactly the same.”
    Several flooding victims had a chance to ask their own questions to representatives with state Homes and Community Renewal. One woman talked about her experience. She said she had help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the past two floods, and thought they would help with the most recent one. When they didn’t, she missed the state deadline for assistance and asked if there was still away to get help.
    Brenda Episcopo, executive director of the United Way of the Valley and the Greater Utica Area, said half the money raised during a WKTV telethon is specifically for such long-term recovery needs.
    “We knew we had to be ready for people who fell through the cracks,” she said.
    Episcopo said flood victims still in need of help will have to contact a case manager at either Catholic Charities of Herkimer County or Catholic Charities of Oneida and Madison Counties, which is being funded by the donations to the United Way.
    Fifty percent of the amount raised during the telethon went to immediate relief through either the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross. The other 50 percent was put aside for long-term recovery through Catholic Charities. According to a United Way news release, 35 percent of what was raised will go toward unmet needs in Herkimer County and 15 percent in Oneida County.
    “We were told ahead of time, like when it was still raining, that this was going to happen,” said Episcopo.
    Episcopo said there was an estimated $35 million in damage, with $16 million coming from the government.
    “Obviously, there is a big disparity,” she said.
    In Herkimer County, flood victims should contact Catholic Charities of Herkimer County disaster case manager Theresa Scanlon at 894-9917. In Oneida County, flood victims should contact Catholic Charities of Oneida-Madison Counties interim case manager Jack Callahan at 724-2158 ext. 260.
    Page 2 of 2 - HOOAD is an organization of several organizations throughout the region to help in disaster relief.
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