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Flood Victims Look To Government For Assistance


The waiting list for federal funds to help homeowners and businesses rebuild in the wake of flooding across Central New York and the Mohawk Valley is growing.

The flash flooding brought on by the heavy rains of June 27 and 28 devastated many communities across Central New York. Residents in many flooded communities along the Mohawk River are waiting for help - looking to Albany and Washington for assistance in cleanup and rebuilding.

A disaster declaration includes 15 counties:  U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a quick review of New York's federal disaster declaration request.

Last week, Schumer toured flood damage in Lockport, the City of Oneida, and Fort Plain. Hundreds of homes incurred flood damage. He told residents about some options available to them. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants President Barack Obama to declare most of the flood-weary area a disaster zone. On Sunday, Cuomo traveled to Herkimer County - where he announced he would call upon the president to declare most of the area a disaster zone.

Cuomo toured the area and then met with local residents and relief volunteers at the Kmart in Herkimer, where he gave a briefing on flood recovery efforts throughout the Mohawk Valley. The governor promised he would call the president to ask for help, and now vows he'll call the legislature back to address recent upstate New York flooding if the federal government declines to issue a disaster declaration. There’s no word from the Cuomo administration as to whether Cuomo was able to place the call, and if he did, what the response from the White House was.

Last word from FEMA: the agency says it's reviewing the request and working with the state on preliminary damage assessments.

Brenda Episcopo is the CEO and Executive Director of United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica area, which is the funding partner for a variety of relief agencies and organizations helping flood victims. Episcopo says a flood recovery fund has been established following a successful TV telethon for victims. If you would like to hear how you can help, listen to the track below.

Contact information for agencies helping Central New York flood victims.

Some communities are looking at Utica's long-term plan for dealing with torrential rains and flooding that includes managing waterways to ensure they are free from debris. Mayor Robert Palmieri notes that creeks in the city were thoroughly cleaned last fall, with follow up in the spring, which mitigated some flood damage.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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