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Frost Valley YMCA clobbered; FEMA funds may be available to help

By Fritz Mayer
September 6, 2011

Hurricane Irene pounded Claryville and the Frost Valley YMCA when it blew through the area on August 28. According to a press release from the organization issued on September 2, there was no road access to Frost Valley and no estimated timeline on when one would become available.

The organization says entire roads and bridges were washed away, and one of its historic buildings, Pigeon Lodge, was shattered beyond repair.

The release requested donations. It said, “The Executive Leadership Team and the Board of Directors are focused on the many financial steps that must be addressed to start the rebuilding of Frost Valley. We are seeking donations through our website of www.frostvalley.org/relieffund. We will be announcing other help needed as we get a better idea of the damage.”

While Frost Valley is located just over the line in Ulster County, the nearby hamlet of Claryville is located in Sullivan County; Claryville was also devastated by the storm and is awaiting repairs to roads and the cleaning of debris from the Neversink River.

On September 2, Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the county for the individual assistance program to homes and businesses that were damaged by the storm.

Ulster County had previously been approved, so the Frost Valley YMCA and residents of Claryville, as well as any other businesses and residents in Sullivan and Ulster that suffered damage, may apply for assistance. The FEMA number to call to begin the application process for assistance is 800/621-3362.

However, FEMA has only about $800 million left in funds to pay for disaster relief, and the overall total damage caused by Hurricane Irene has been estimated at up to $8 billion. There is a tug of war going on in Congress. Some Republicans in the house say that cuts should be found elsewhere before more funds are given to FEMA to serve disaster victims, while some Democrats are saying disaster victims should not be used as pawns in partisan battles in Washington, D.C.

New storm concerns

As residents throughout the region were still recovering from Irene, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee were heading toward the region with a promise of more heavy rains.
On September 6, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flood watch for the region, which included Pike and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania and Sullivan and Delaware in New York.