Many flooded twice in northeast

Many communities flooded last weekend were also inundated in September.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | April 8, 2005


Many communities flooded last weekend were also inundated in September by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan. But this time around, it's even worse.

Emergency responders are expecting damage totals from last weekend's flooding to exceed those of Hurricane Ivan.

Those damage totals will also include a psychological toll as well, said the Rev. June Stitzinger-Clark, who described the situation in Matamoras, Pa., as "grim."

"There is just a complete loss of hope in some areas," said Stitzinger-Clark, disaster response coordinator for the Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church, which includes parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

"They were pumping water out of homes, but it was going right back in because the ground was so saturated."

She added that some homes are already being condemned. Stitzinger-Clark will be distributing flood buckets this weekend to communities all along the Delaware River. "While some of these areas are used to flooding, this time is so much worse than in the past."

Volunteer cleanup teams are also working in the affected areas to remove debris and "mud out" flooded homes.

In Bucks County, Pa., preliminary damage assessments show more than 800 homes affected by the high water. According to a spokesperson for the Bucks County Office of Emergency Management, damage assessments thus far show eight homes destroyed, another 223 with major damage, and more than 250 with minor damage.

The water levels exceeded those during Hurricane Ivan in September, said the spokesperson.

Aerial footage taken during a Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) tour of the Bucks County towns of New Hope and Yardley show numerous homes and roads underwater. Sections of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton were also underwater this week.

Officials are currently touring the flood-affected areas to tally damages and assess whether a federal emergency declaration is needed.

Other hard hit counties in Pennsylvania include Wayne, Wyoming, Luzerne, Monroe, Bradford, Columbia, Pike and Northampton.

New York suffered from the weekend flooding as well. According to a spokesperson for the New York State Emergency Management Organization (NYSEMO), more than a dozen counties were affected.

"We're expecting significant damage from this," said NYSEMO Public Information Office Dennis Michalski. Affected counties include Orange and Sullivan, where the communities of Port Jervis, Callicoon and Hortonville all saw the Delaware River forced from its banks by the heavy rains.

Damage assessments continue in New Jersey as well. The majority of damage in that state is in the northern and western parts of the state along the Delaware River.


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