Governor Cuomo stated that “Upstate Catskill area has the worst damage in the State”. He also stated floods inundated 6 towns, destroying more then 600 homes damaging 150 major highways, and knocking out 22 NYS bridges. A minimum of 140,000 farm acres were spoiled with a cost of more than $45 million. Many homes, cars and businesses were lost in the devastation. Although residents will get some help from FEMA and NYS more help will be needed.
Governor Cuomo has announced the “Labor for your Neighbor” program for people who are willing to make donations and volunteer their time. (From Labor For Your Neighbor Website):
The Governor will kick off a volunteer effort, “Labor for your Neighbor” on Labor Day weekend to assist in local clean up efforts in the Schoharie Valley, Catskill and North Country Regions. This will entail a few hours on Sunday or Monday in the affected regions working to help those in flood-stricken areas to clear their homes of the mud and debris Irene left behind. To volunteer for this effort, click the Governors Website link. You will receive further specific instructions regarding times, locations and how to prepare. Note that these communities remain isolated and in distress, with difficult conditions on the ground. The National Guard and State Office of Emergency Management will provide supervision and safe transport to the sites. To ensure an orderly effort, the numbers of volunteers will be controlled.
Relief Workers & Governor Cuomo
You can also help though donations. To donate funds, click on the contribute button also located on the Governor’s website. United Way of New York will pass on your donation to a registered charity in an area hit hard by the storm. Every dime you donate will go directly to assisting storm victims.
Normally the day or so after Labor Day marks the start of school in New York, however the Catskill region has many challenges to over come in order for their schools to function. The biggest challenge for most school districts in the Catskill region is transportation since many lost buses to raging rivers. Many families no longer live in their homes because of safety reasons so routing the buses properly will be a challenge.
“I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me everywhere and said, “I heard what happened in upstate New York, and I want to be helpful. What can I do? How can I help?” Governor Cuomo stated in a conference call. “This effort is an opportunity to start to mobilize citizen goodwill, effort, and energy.” You can sign up on the Governor’s website, click here.