Waldo County preparing application to seek federal aid in aftermath of ice storm
The Waldo County Emergency Management Agency is preparing an application to submit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency seeking assistance for individuals who were impacted by the recent ice storm.
Waldo County EMA Director Dale Rowley said FEMA has two presidential declarations, a public assistance declaration and an individual assistance declaration, that can provide assistance to areas battered by a storm or other disaster.
Rowley explained a public assistance declaration is based on how much damage is done to an area in terms of a dollar amount. As an example, he said if Waldo County sustained $150,000 worth of damage as the result of a storm, it could be eligible for the public assistance declaration.
On the other hand, the individual assistance declaration is what Rowley described as a narrative that attempts to paint a picture of how the storm impacted residents in the county.
As part of the application seeking the individual assistance declaration, Rowley is specifically asking businesses if their employees had reduced hours as a result of the storm; if the employees lost wages as a result of the storm; how many employees the business has; and how many hours were lost.
Rowley is only asking for approximate numbers regarding the above questions and is not asking for rates of pay.
If the application results in the county receiving a disaster area declaration from FEMA, the employees may be eligible for financial assistance. However, Rowley noted the businesses would not be eligible for lost income at this time.
The time frame for when businesses were impacted runs from Sunday, Dec. 22, into the first week of January if there are businesses that are still recovering from the effects of the storm.
Rowley said the Waldo County EMA is also trying to find out how the farms were impacted in terms of whether any livestock died or any crops were lost due to the storm.
The EMA would also like to know if any homes or vehicles were damaged by the storm or if any food spoiled due to the prolonged power outages across the county.
Rowley said once the EMA has a better picture of how much of an impact the storm had on the county, he can submit the application to FEMA and potentially get an individual assistance declaration.
If Waldo County receives an individual assistance declaration, it would allow FEMA to come into the area and begin providing help for those who were impacted. In addition, Rowley said other federal organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture or the Small Business Administration would also be able to provide assistance.
Based on what he has heard from people around the county, Rowley said he believed the area was one of the hardest hit in the state. He said he has heard a number of homes have sustained damage to the plumbing due to pipes freezing, and others have had the food in their refrigerators spoil.
He said he also suspects there are a number of people whose vehicles have been damaged as a result of tree limbs falling onto them.
With the threat of more snow in the forecast, Rowley said he hopes the potential storm won't cause more issues. However, he noted that the ice that is already on lines and tree limbs won't melt and the weight of any additional snow could cause problems.
If you would like to report any damage from the storm, Rowley said you can call 211. If you are uncomfortable calling 211, you can also contact your local town office or the Waldo County EMA office at 338-3870.
Rowley noted that just because you contact someone about damage to your home it does not mean you will immediately receive assistance.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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