BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Victims of May’s flooding around the Valley are still looking for assistance from the federal government to repair the damage. But, some say the help being provided won’t fix the bigger problem that’s behind the flooding.
With Mahoning County now included in a statewide federal disaster declaration, a team of advisors spent the day Friday canvasing storm-damaged neighborhoods.
“What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna encourage anyone within the county to register with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency),” said Luis Delgado, a FEMA DSA (Disaster Survivor Assistance) team member.
Using notebook computers, the workers were able to register people right on the spot or else leave them flyers with information so they can do it themselves online or by phone.
A Disaster Recovery Center will open next week where people can go apply for help as well.
The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is Aug. 19.
“Any of those three options will help you get into the system and then we’ll take it from there,” Delgado said.
But at least one of the neighbors along Holbrook Road in Boardman think this is little more than a bandage.
“But what about the future? And that’s the problem, and all we’re getting is pushing the blame and ‘we’re working on it,'” said resident Mike Sprague.
As a result of the flooding in late May, stormwater run-off combined with clogged sanitary sewers to innundate the neighborhood. Sprague says it happens just about every time there’s a heavy storm.
“I went at this eight years ago and the stories I heard then are the stories I’m hearing now,” he said.
Sprague admits improving the stormwater and sanitary sewers will take time and a lot of money, but he adds until that happens the flooding won’t stop, even if neighbors are able to get help repairing the damage.
“FEMA’s helped, which is great, but at the end of the day we never fixed the original problem,” Sprague said.
Which leaves Sprague and his neighbors watching the skies for the next storm, worrying.