FEMA begins to set up shop at Belleayre. Photo by Fred Margulies.
9/2/11: Delaware County announced yesterday that the FEMA Delaware County Flood Recovery Center is open for business at Belleayre Ski Center today. Buses are running to take flood-affected residents to and from the center. Read on for bus stops, schedules, and hours of operation in a press release:
DELAWARE COUNTY FLOOD RECOVERY CENTER: NOW OPEN
Belleayre Ski Center
181 Galli Currci Road
High Mount, NY 12441
SERVICES AVAILABLE AT RECOVERY CENTER ARE:
• Laundry – free use of washers and dryers
• Hot showers - free
• FEMA – from Noon to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept 2nd and then 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily starting Saturday, September 3rd
• Social Services
• Stress Management
• New York Department of Labor
CONTINUOUS FREE SHUTTLE BUS SERVICE
FROM NOON TO 5:00 p.m. ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2nd AND THEN 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. DAILY STARTING SEPTEMBER 3rd STOPPING AT EACH OF THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS ALONG THE ROUTE:
Margaretville Country Store by school
Margaretville Hess Station on State Highway 28
Margaretville Town Hall
Clovesville Old Route 28 and corner of Kissimmee Road
Cloveville Baptist Church
Fleischmanns Community Church
Fleischmanns Country Store
Belleayre Ski Center
9/1/11: Starting tomorrow, FEMA will be opening a disaster recovery center at the lower lodge at the Belleayre Ski Center in Highmount. The center will be open tomorrow (Friday, September 2) from 12 noon to 8pm, and after that, every day from 8am to 8pm, until further notice. People who need to register for FEMA aid can go to Belleayre, where a station will be set up to help people go through the interview process they will need to complete in order to get help.
I spoke by phone earlier this evening with Sean Waters, the FEMA branch director currently at Belleayre. He said the most important thing people can do if they need assistance is to register with FEMA, either by calling 1-800-621-3362 (that's 800-621-FEMA), or by registering online at disasterassistance.gov or fema.gov. Either way, applicants will have to answer a series of questions.
"We want to get as much information as they can, and be as complete as possible, so the application can be turned over to an investigator who will contact the individual citizen," said Waters. "We want as many people to register as possible."
Once people have applied, the agency will schedule a property inspection. Waters said that the turnaround time between receiving an application and doing an inspection was currently around eight to ten days. The wait is due to an overwhelming number of applicants currently being processed.
"We expect tens of thousands of registrants, so it will take some time."
To help with the process, Belleayre will have several individual assistance specialists (or IA specialists) to guide people through the interview process and collect necessary information. Waters said at least five IA specialists would be stationed at Belleayre, possibly more.
Waters also said that he had been promised that the disaster recovery at Belleayre would have a representative from the Small Business Administration to assist with getting aid to businesses, but that he did not yet know when that person would arrive or who it would be.
He said there would be community relations teams to disseminate information in the community, and that he is trying to get some crisis counselors at Belleayre as well. He also expects Red Cross personnel to be stationed there.
"We normally work hand in glove with the Red Cross," he said.
Waters had high praise for the DEC staff who work at Belleayre operating the ski facility, and who are currently running a shelter at the upper lodge.
"I've been doing this for 15-plus years, honestly, it's probably the best operation I've seen," he said. "They're state folks who normally just do management of this facility, and they're doing an exceptional job of disaster support here."
We reported earlier today that FEMA would be opening an office at the Catskill Watershed Corporation building in Margaretville as well. CORRECTION 9/3: This info was based on a Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce press release; since then, we've been informed CWC is damaged and will not be hosting FEMA.