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EMA assessing flood damage but doesn't expect state help

By Maria Miller

NORTHERN CAMBRIA, Pa. -- Dozens of people are continuing to clean up after heavy rains caused damaging floods in Northern Cambria earlier this week. Cambria County Emergency Management has stepped in to start the assessmentprocess and total damages but says it's not sure the are is going to get any government help. The department is warning residents not to get their hopes up. 

"It was somewhat freakish and really there's not a whole lot that could have been done," said Ron Springer, director of Cambria County Emergency Management. 

While the flooding Monday night in Northern Cambria was devastating for many homeowners, Springer said it's nothing compared to what he's seen in the many years he's been with emergency services. 

"Most of the damage that we're seeing is going to be probably below the limits that we need to reach," said Springer. 

And unfortunately he said that means the likelihood of receiving assistance from the state is slim. 

"Those people that did sustain significant damages, if they don't have insurance or such, they're likely going to unfortunately be on their own to make repairs," he said.

But Springer said that doesn't mean people shouldn't still call for an assessment and report their damage totals. 

"It's our job as EMA to follow through on any process that could benefit the recovery process for the people," said Springer. "That's what we're committed to do and that's what we're doing this week." 

"We've seen low-lying areas with ground water rising and creeks rising," said Pastor Doug Dyson of the St. John's United Methodist Church in Northern Cambria. "We've seen hillsides where you think there'd be no flooding getting6-8inches of run-through water that has just ruined basements." 

And that's why Dyson said his church had to step in and help by assembling clean up teams and handing out flood relief kits.

"This is all donated by churches across the country. There are cleaning cloths, clothes pins and lines for drying things out, garbage bags, sponges and cleaning detergents (in the kits,)" said Dyson. "It's our way of letting the community know (they're) not in this alone." 

The flood relief kits are free to anyone who needs them. They can be picked up at the church any day this week. 

In the meantime, the Northern Cambria Elementary and Middle school will remain closed Friday as dozens of crews continue their clean-up after at least 15 classrooms in the school were heavily damaged by floodwater. The superintendent told 6 News it could be several weeks yet until those classrooms are restored but he said the staff is working hard to create temporary classrooms in other parts of the building. Classes will resume Monday.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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