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AMERICAN RED CROSS Public Information Officer Rebecca Callahan, center, checks out the latest information inside the Greater New York chapter’s busy mobile unit in Livingston Manor.

Efforts Now Focus
On Recovering

By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY — July 7, 2006 – The numbers aren’t good.
Six hundred fifty-two homes were damaged.
Thirty homes have been condemned.
The “1-in-500-years flood” left behind at least $13.8 million in damage to municipalities and another $13 million in private damage.
And those numbers may change.
“I caution that it’s always subject to going up and down depending on what we find as we proceed,” said Dick Martinkovic, public safety commissioner of Sullivan County.
As the county dries out, Martinkovic has been hashing out the details with state and federal officials to bring aid into Sullivan County to replace roads and provide shelter for the homeless.
President George W. Bush declared a national disaster last weekend, paving the way for municipalities to file for assistance in cleaning debris and repairing infrastructure.
An announcement followed late Monday that Individual Assistance (IA) is also available to the 481 homeowners who suffered minor damages, the 141 who received a major blow and the 30 more who have no home to return to.
To apply, citizens should call 800-621-FEMA (3362) any day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
State assistance is also available from the State Emergency Management Office through the State Individual and Family Grant Program for homeowners, renters and business owners by calling 888-7-NYS-AID.
Operators will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“If you get money from one program, it does not affect what you get from the other,” Martinkovic said, encouraging people to call both numbers.
There are also changes afoot to bring service to more people in the flooded areas.
Because the Town of Rockland was hardest hit, followed by the Town of Callicoon and then the river towns, Martinkovic said the state is moving its disaster assistance service center to the Livingston Manor Central School.
There, a number of state agencies will join the American Red Cross in offering help to the victims.
The Red Cross and the state will both be sending mobile units out to other areas of the county – specifically the Delaware River valley.
Roadways throughout the county are slowly being fixed, with crumbling shoulders receiving bolstering and craters being patched.
The Roebling Bridge which links Minisink Ford to Lackawaxen, Pa. reopened Wednesday to traffic.
Martinkovic said things will continue to change as the county moves forward in the recovery stage.
His office is now sitting down to review the county’s response and make changes to its disaster plan.
“I will say no one incident is a mirror of the last one,” he said.
But each disaster is a learning experience, he explained – one way the county can benefit from tragedy.

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