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In aftermath of flooding, Connellsville Township hoping for federal, state aid

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Friday, July 12, 2013, 6:57 p.m.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency visited Connellsville Township earlier this week to assess recent flood damage.

Robert Leiberger Sr., the township's Emergency Management Agency (EMA) coordinator, told supervisors Thursday night that PEMA officials checked flood damage at 12 sites that occurred on July 2.

“PEMA visited those sites, and the township requested reimbursement for state and federal aid to help recover some of the funding that was used to respond to the flood,” Leiberger said. “We're not sure if we will be eligible for reimbursement, but we're going to see what happens.”

Severe flooding occurred on July 2 in the township where basements were flooding because storm drains became clogged and could not handle the excess water from heavy downpours.

“We want to thank EMA and the fire department for everything they did to help us with the damage after the flood,” Supervisor Chairman Tom Cesario said. “They did a great job, and we really appreciate everything they did in an emergency situation.”

Cesario said the township declared a state of emergency and notified PEMA and FEMA for assistance.

Since the flood waters have subsided, the supervisors voted to lift the state of emergency.

“We need to get back to normal,” Supervisor Robert Carson said. “We no longer need a state of emergency.”

If a similar situation occurs in the future, Cesario encouraged township residents who are in good health to help the fire department, emergency management officials and supervisors to clean clogged drains.

“We would really appreciate it if the residents could pitch in and help us the next time,” he said. “We just can't do everything that is needed in a situation like that.”

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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