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New rain provokes PA worries

More than a month after flooding poured into homes and communities near Pittsburgh, residents are still trying to clean up.

BY MONICA OLIVAS | TURTLE CREEK, PA | July 29, 2009

Heavy rains throughout western Pennsylvania Wednesday added a new level of anxiety for residents of Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties who are still working to repair the damage left behind by flash flooding that hit the area in June.

The flooding that occurred on June 17 devastated the area. More than 200 homes were damaged in the borough of Turtle Creek alone. Many homes are uninhabitable and the official numbers keep changing as the area continues to be inspected.

Despite the number of homes damaged, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ruled the community’s damage did not meet guidelines for aid. Local governments have said they plan to appeal the ruling.

In the meantime, local faith-based organizations including the Western Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church, Catholic Charities and a local chapter of the American Red Cross are providing aid to residents.

The United Methodists have provided flood buckets containers with clean-up supplies -- to help residents clean up and are continuing to organize volunteer teams.

The Rev. Sue Sphar-Calhoun is the Greensburg District Disaster Coordinator for the Conference. She says there is still a lot of work to be done. Most of the trash and debris has been picked up but many families are still out of their homes.

“You can still see along the creek banks you can still see the debris. The rest of it is going on behind closed doors,” Sphar-Calhoun says. The Conference is still assessing the needs and trying to identify additional support for residents whose homes are not covered by flood insurance.


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