Officials: Keep documenting flood damage
Community members impacted by the deadly flash flooding Saturday are being urged to report damages to their property.
Those reports could help bring in state and possibly some federal assistance.
"What our staff is working with the counties and the municipalities on right now is conducting what's considered an initial damage assessment," said Randy Padfield, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).
There are two pieces to receiving help under the Stafford Act. The federal act provides the foundation for the national response to disasters. The first piece is called public assistance.
"That is damage to public infrastructure," Padfield said. "So that's roads and bridges and culverts that are washed out and other public property damage."
Public assistance is based on damages and expenses compared to an area’s per capita. Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties and the state have to meet a threshold of $23 million in damages, he said.
The other piece is individual assistance, which is more difficult to receive. That includes personal property damage, like flooded homes. Individual assistance is typically given out after larger catastrophic events, like the wildfires in Maui or the flooding after Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.
"The events that we're seeing are significantly impactful to the areas that are impacted," Padfield said. "But they're not widespread.”
Other federal funding may also be available, he said. Property owners have to keep documenting and reporting the damage.
PEMA launched a Public Damage Assessment Link for area residents and businesses to report damage done to their properties. It's available until Sept. 24 at https://damage-assessment-3-pema.hub.arcgis.com/.
U.S. Senator Bob Casey talked with Lackawanna County and Newton Twp. officials on Friday on a washed out Bridge Lane. Gardners Creek overflowed a few yards back, turning the road into a waterway. Drain pipes and the creek bank are now exposed. At least four homes are damaged.
Newton Twp. Supervisor Doug Pallman, chairman, said the township is looking at least a million dollars in damage.
Casey asked if the township road's guardrails were moved by the water.
A county official said yes.
"Just the power of that alone tells you how devastating this can be," Casey said. "We want to be mindful of any way that we can provide additional support through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) or other resources.”
The city of Scranton has added extra Storm Recovery Outreach events at Weston Field, 982 Providence Road, Scranton.
- Saturday, Sept. 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Monday, Sept. 18, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Tuesday, Sept. 19, 4 to 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 20, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
City officials will be available to support impacted residents in reporting damages and to provide recovery resources, including mental health resources, clean-up supplies, wound care and food vouchers; answer questions, and collect ideas for further assistance.
The Scranton Area Foundation established a Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund. It will support community organizations directly impacted by the flooding. The organization is seeking donations for the relief fund. For more details, visit https://scranton.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=4598.
Lackawanna County is setting up a temporary Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) on Sept. 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center will be at the Chinchilla Fire Company, 113 Shady Lane Road, South Abington Twp. Residents and businesses that experienced significant damage from the storm will be provided resource information and guidance.