© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cuomo, Napolitano Tour Flood-Damaged Prattsville


Albany, NY – Governor Cuomo and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured the flood devastated Catskill Mountain community of Prattsville Wednesday, as both promised financial aid and a determined rebuilding effort. Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports...

Tom McGlynn stands on the main street of his flood ravaged town, waiting for Governor Cuomo's helicopter and the visit from the federal officials.

The street is bustling with national guard troops distributing water, emergency medics, firetrucks and police. The air is filled with dust from drying mud, fuel leak fumes, and the beginnings of rotting garbage.

McGlynn says he is still trying to process what happened to him, three days after the waters destroyed his home.

"There's nothing left of it," said McGlynn. "The whole first floor is gone, and a two car the garage with a room over it, that's in my neighbors' yard."

McGlynn says he and his wife escaped with their lives.

"What I have on me is what I left," McGlynn said. "It's unbelievable."

Governor Cuomo brought one of President Obama's top aids, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to Prattsville to see the destruction for herself.

"This is one of the first areas to be declared a Presidential major disaster," said Napolitano.

Napolitano says residents can begin applying to FEMA for grants, a FEMA bus was stationed in the center of town. But FEMA official s say there won't be enough to make residents "whole" again.

Governor Cuomo says money is tight, but the repairs will have to be done, and the funds found. He says he hopes that the state, working with the federal government, will come up with financing for communities that were already down at the heels from years of economic depression.

"We're not just going to rebuild, we're going to rebuild back better than before," said Cuomo, as many local officials cheered him on.

But after three disorienting days, residents aren't so sure, and some are wondering if they have the heart left to do so.

Emily Morse, who also lost everything in the raging flood waters, got a chance to speak with the Governor. Cuomo embraced her as she wept. Morse says Cuomo told her "it will be alight."

But she says she doesn't believe it right now.

"How can it be?" Morse said.

"I prayed for my life," she said. "I thought I was going to die."

McGlynn, who says he raised ten children in the house that is no longer habitable, says his wife saw the wreckage, and told him - no.

"She just took a look, turned around and said to me 'I'm never coming back here again,'" said McGlynn.

McGlynn, who is in his 70's, and has lived through other floods in his 30 years in Prattsville, says he's not physically able to rebuild, and mentally not certain he's up to it.

"You know we might change our minds," he said. "But, it's just heartbreaking"

In Albany, I'm Karen DeWitt.