HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today asked the federal government to provide disaster aid that will help governments and certain non-profit organizations in five counties recover from Hurricane Irene.
In his letter to the White House, Governor Corbett asserted that the magnitude of the damage is beyond the response capabilities of the state and affected local governments and that supplementary federal assistance is necessary.
"I traveled with the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Glenn Cannon to many of the affected areas, and it was evident early on that the severe damage from Irene affected many of our roads and infrastructure," said Corbett.
If approved, state government and local governments and certain non-profit organizations in certain counties would be eligible to apply for federal assistance to pay 75 percent of the approved cost of debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities.
A preliminary damage assessment was conducted prior to the governor submitting the letter requesting federal disaster relief. The counties of Chester, Northampton, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming collectively exceeded more than $32 million in damage based on assessments as of Friday afternoon. This figure clearly makes Pennsylvania eligible for public assistance from the federal government.
Other counties – including Bucks, Delaware, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Pike and Wayne – continue to be assessed and can later be added to the governor's initial request.
Governor Corbett's letter emphasizes that the storm's estimated costs are expected to grow as assessments continue and repairs and restorations begin.
Municipalities are urged to report any damages they have to their county emergency management agency. Residents are urged to report their damages to their local governments as damage assessments continue. It is possible that the federal government may grant assistance to individuals and businesses that suffered damage from Hurricane Irene.
The State Emergency Operations Center in Harrisburg was activated to coordinate response to support the areas affected by the storm systems. PEMA maintained communications and continues to work with the affected counties, state, federal and local agencies and non-governmental entities involved in this disaster.
More information on disaster assistance in Pennsylvania is available at www.pema.state.pa.us; click on "Disaster Assistance and Updates" in the left-hand column.
The state's ReadyPA campaign encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency occurs: Be Informed, Be Prepared, Be Involved. More detailed information, including downloadable emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, is available online at www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READY-PA.
Editor's Note: The text of the governor's request letter is available upon request.
Cory P. Angell, PEMA; 717-651-2009 or 717-585-8809 (cell)
Janet Kelley, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency