Flood damage not severe enough for federal aid

Published 11:04 pm Saturday, August 8, 2009

Recent flash flooding affected more than 75 homes but the damage to both private and public property does not appear to be severe enough to get immediate federal aid, Lawrence County’s Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Boster told the Lawrence County Commission Thursday.

Boster said, he hopes people who have not yet called his office will do so.

Boster said, thus far, he has had 76 reports of damage to houses because of the recent flash flooding. Of those, 60 are classified under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations as having been “affected” by the flooding, 15 have “minor” damage and one residence is listed as a total loss.

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Boster said 56 of the 76 reports of damage were in the city of Ironton.

The county needs 25 homes classified as having major damage before being eligible for federal assistance to individuals.

Houses without basements that sustain less than a foot of water are classified as “affected.” A house without a basement that has 1-2 feet of water in the first floor is listed as having “minor” damage.

Two to 5 feet of water in a house without a basement would be classified under FEMA regulations as having “major” damage.

Homes with a basement that sustained 12 inches of water but suffered no structural damage are put into the “affected” category.

But Boster urged residents to call his office and report any damage regardless of whether or not the county gets a federal declaration.

“Even if we don’t get a federal declaration, this will still tell us where the damage is so we can document it,” Boster said.

Even though emergency assistance might not be available, Boster said Lawrence County has in the past been able to tap into mitigation, or prevention funds that can be used to help lessen or prevent future flash flooding damage.

Those affected by recent flash flooding are asked to call the EMA office at (740) 533-4375.

Boster said he is still waiting on damage reports to public infrastructure. He sad he knows two culverts, one crossing County Road 121 in Windsor Township and another crossing County Road 32 in Union Township, were damaged by the flash flooding and county workers also had to contend with some minor ditch repairs. But none of the county’s political subdivisions had yet submitted damage reports to him as of Thursday.

“I know some are working on it but they haven’t given us anything,” Boster said.

To obtain federal disaster funds, Lawrence County needs at least $1 million in damage to infrastructure — roads, bridges, etc.