PEMA: Restore Pennsylvania could help disaster survivors

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Acting Director Randy Padfield was joined by York County Office of Emergency Management officials; Phil Smith, vice-chair of the Hellam Township Board of Supervisors; Chris Reilly, York County Commissioner; and others Friday morning to discuss how Restore Pennsylvania could benefit disaster survivors when damages do not meet federally established thresholds for federal aid.

The press event was held inside the historic Accomac Inn. It was covered by reporters from four local TV stations.

“The record-breaking rain and catastrophic flooding we saw across much of the state, including right here in Hellam Township, made it very clear to us that a state-sustained disaster fund is needed,” Padfield said. “The damages caused by repeated storms this summer, while significant, simply did not rise to the level required in order to obtain federal aid for each incident.”

Restore Pennsylvania would invest $4.5 billion over the next four years in significant, high-impact projects to rebuild Pennsylvania’s infrastructure. The program would establish a disaster relief trust fund to assist individuals who suffer losses that are not compensated through grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration or other programs.

“It’s disheartening to see the damage left behind by a flood and hear the stories of our neighbors who lost everything, while we have no means to help them financially get back on their feet,” said Smith. “Restore Pennsylvania would be a much-needed resource for survivors at a time when they can take all the help they can get.”

Governor Wolf’s proposal also would provide funding for municipalities to take steps to prevent flooding via streambank restoration, levees or floodwalls and stream restoration and maintenance.

A detailed overview of Restore Pennsylvania, which would be funded through a commonsense severance tax, is available online. More information about how to prepare for an emergency, including specific information for people with specialized needs such as pets or access and functional needs, is available on the ReadyPA webpage.

A similar event will be held March 7 by the state's Department of Environmental Protection in Chanceford Township.


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