Leaders eye debris removal

Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 7, 2012

The past few days have been productive for Lincoln County as leaders work toward beginning debris collection in the county.

     Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey said he spent Tuesday through Thursday working with FEMA and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency representatives inspecting damage and the amount of debris to be collected.

     If the county is determined to have enough debris and damage, FEMA and MEMA could come in and reimburse the county for most of the debris collection.

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     “I think everything has been going well with FEMA and MEMA,” said Galey. “We still have debris in the county and we’re working on getting that picked up next week sometime.”

     Galey said the numbers FEMA and MEMA tallied of damage and debris should be turned into the state today. It will then take a few days to see if the area is declared for assistance.

     Galey estimated the total amount of debris from Hurricane Isaac in the county to be 30,000 cubic yards, which is how FEMA measures it. By comparison, Galey said Hurricane Katrina produced 150,000 cubic yards of debris in 2005.

     “But 30,000 is still a lot of debris,” said Galey. “It’s more than the county crews can handle.”

     Another thing FEMA and MEMA, as well as the Red Cross, has been looking into is damage to people’s homes. Galey said if enough damage is observed, either a center would be set up in Lincoln County for people with damaged homes or a hotline would be established for people to call and get individual assistance.

     If you have damage to your home or business and have not reported it yet, call 1-800-621-3362. Galey said you will be asked questions about the damage and you can register for assistance through FEMA.

     Galey said government aid will depend on the amount of damage and if the homeowner has insurance.

     Another remnant of Isaac that Lincoln County is dealing with is the effect the storm had on roads. Ones that were flooded can experience damage that calls for immediate repairs.

     Galey said all roads in the county that were flooded are now dry, but some are in need of repair.

     Usually, officials should not repair any storm-related damage until government inspectors come in and observe the damage. But if it’s a potential danger to the public, then Galey tells officials to photograph the damage and then work on it.

     In another note, Galey wanted to clarify that as of now, no disaster food stamps are being distributed in Lincoln County. Many rumors have spread about the food stamps being given out, but as of now no such activity is going on.

     If a time comes where disaster food stamps will be given out, Galey said he and other local officials will make it known.

     There is also no plan for meals, water or ice to be handed out in the county, said Galey.

     The area is now over a week after Isaac and the recovery phase is in full swing. Galey said he’d like to thank everyone for their assistance during this time.

     “I’d like to thank the citizens of Lincoln County and Brookhaven and all elected officials, emergency crews and volunteers,” he said. “We couldn’t do what we do without them. They need to pat themselves on the back for what they’ve done.”