Government
7:35 am
Mon September 10, 2012

PEMA Pleased With Response To Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee

One year after flooding from Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) says clean-up efforts in the commonwealth aren’t done yet.
Cory Angell, a spokesman for PEMA,  says more than $1.7 million have gone toward repairing public property damaged by last year’s storms.

“Currently our numbers reflect that there are 40 public assistance projects.  Now that’s the infrastructure," said Angell.  "That would be your roads and your bridges or municipal buildings, things like that.” 

Angell said within PEMA there’s a sense of satisfaction with how the crisis was handled by emergency responders as well as the smart use of limited resources.

When it became clear the eastern part of the state would need more attention than the west, PEMA sent for its Pittsburgh and Erie flood response teams. 

Angell says New Jersey got hit right before the commonwealth, so PEMA sent a task force of ambulances to the Garden State to assist people in nursing homes and other special populations move out of harm’s way. 

“And then when they finished that mission, they turned right around, they came back here to Harrisburg and then they were used subsequently here in Pennsylvania to help with our citizens,” Angell said.

Angell says during the recovery stage, more than 20 disaster recovery centers were staffed by multiple state agencies, including PEMA as well as the Department of Environmental Protection. The centers were set up to help people apply for recovery aid and get things like water testing kits.

Angell says such agreements with bordering states allowed Pennsylvania to help and be helped as last year’s storms moved up the coast. 

In the event the next storm doesn’t free up a whole region of first response teams, Angell says the state may have to call upon its neighbors for help again.