By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY April 22, 2005 The president came through.
Eighteen days after floods decimated Sullivan County, leaving at least $22.1 million in damages to roads, bridges and private homes, President George W. Bush declared a national disaster for 13 counties in New York State.
According to Dick Martinkovic, county commissioner of public safety, Sullivan County is on that list.
Now, he said, the county, towns, villages and local school districts will all be eligible for federal funding in the form of FEMAs Public Assistance (PA) to help repair damages left behind by the record flooding.
And residents whose living space was hit hard by the flood will be able to make the pledge for FEMAs Individual Assistance (IA).
The county has been issued a four-digit storm number that highway superintendents and residents alike will use to identify their disaster when speaking with FEMA.
FEMA has also provided Martinkovic with a toll-free number residents should call to get the ball rolling.
Those applying for PA will be invited to an applicants briefing at the government center some time in early May.
Then, the towns all know from experience, theyll start making appointments with FEMA examiners, Martinkovic said.
That will be the beginning of a two- to three-month process to determine how much money each municipality will be receiving from the federal government.
Residents dont have to wait until May, however, Martinkovic said.
They can call FEMA now at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. They should explain theyre from Sullivan County, New York, and give storm number NY 1589, Martinkovic explained.
Although FEMA is expected to open a temporary office in Port Jervis for individuals affected by the flood, Martinkovic hasnt yet heard word on whether a similar office will be opened in Sullivan County.
His focus is on moving ahead with the process.
Im very, very pleased that the president has now sent FEMA aid to the people of Sullivan County and our governments, he said. We will now be able to get our lives back in order.