Storm Relief

Funding for storm cleanup will be coming to local counties in the near future, thanks to a National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

A total of $16.2 million in federal funding has been awarded to 15 of 21 counties in Ohio that qualified for emergency relief in the wake of disastrous storms that caused damage and flooding this past spring.

Because a federal disaster was declared, affected counties were eligible for these federal grant dollars, which will help with not only cleanup efforts but also preventative maintenance to avoid future damage as a result of severe weather.

Belmont, Guernsey, Jefferson and Monroe counties were among those areas in Ohio that qualified for funding. This money will not only help with cleanup efforts, but will also help employ temporary workers who were displaced or have been unemployed for a long time.

Although the local counties did not suffer the brunt of the storms as other counties may have, the funding for emergency relief can be put to good use. In fact, heavy rains and flooding in June caused more extensive damage to private properties and public infrastructures, and even though the disaster declaration did not involve the June weather incidents, its intended use should help provide relief for the damage caused by those storms as well.

Temporary workers will be assigned to raze destroyed buildings, repair buildings and clear streets and streams of debris in the wake of the natural disaster that occurred in May. Hopefully these efforts will be able to provide some relief to the damage that occurred in June.

Crews hired through a similar program following the devastating 2004 floods in the area made significant improvements with debris removal in creeks and streams. This debris has again become a problem, as was seen during the June flooding. The debris in the creeks destroyed bridges and blocked the flow of waterways during the past heavy rains. This creates a destructive and at times deadly situation that can be avoided in the future.

We hope the local counties receive a considerable portion of this federal funding when it is allocated in the coming weeks, and we hope local officials use the funding wisely and target areas that are in the most dire need of cleanup.