Sullivan County turns to task of flood recovery

At least eight people are displaced and three full-time homes lost in Sullivan County after heavy rains caused extreme flooding early last Friday, county Commissioner Donna Ionnone said.

All community members thankfully have been accounted for, she said.

A full damage report is unavailable at this time, but Deputy Director for Emergency Services Jason Dickinson said he hopes to have that information as soon as possible.

Right now, he said, the county still is in the stage of clearing trees and other debris to get into more remote areas and assess damage.

“It’s so widespread, and with limited resources, trying to get that information is going to take some time,” Dickinson said. “We’re making sure we have everything covered before we release figures.”

Earlier reports stated between 20 and 25 people had been displaced. Ionnone said this was due to the evacuation of a personal-care facility. A majority of the facility’s residents have since returned, bringing the number of displaced persons back down.

Hillsgrove, Elkland and Fox townships are the areas that seem to have taken on the most damage, she said. Several bridges are out, some roads still are impassable and the community is working on cleaning up.

Dickinson said state Department of Transportation workers and contractors have been in the area to assess bridges and roads as well as to cleanup Route 87 in Hillsgrove that was heavily damaged.

“We’ve had contact with a couple of entities to bring in Dumpsters to help people get rid of fallen trees and other debris,” Dickinson said.

Township supervisors also are assessing their roads and bridges for damage and seeking a quick and cost-effective solution to help people get mobile again, he said.

Emergency Services has been in contact with the DEP to get water-testing kits and what’s needed to shock wells so that community members can be sure their drinking water is safe, Dickinson said.

Ionnone said the department engineers have been providing people with emergency permits and further assistance getting into their flooded homes in emergency situations, such as to retrieve necessary medications. People in need of such assistance should go to the Hillsgrove Fire Station, 2238 Route 87 in Hillsgrove.

Officials also have been working with the state Department of Health to get a tetanus clinic set up, he said.

“There are many people on the ground trying to get as much information to us as possible so we can get help out to where it is needed,” Dickinson said.

Everyone has been accounted for, Dickinson reiterated, and no one has come forward seeking extra aid, so the focus now is on cleanup.

The Red Cross has been in the area helping with many aspects of damage control, Ionnone said.

“They’ve provided clean up, food, supplies,” she said. “They’ve helped people start getting their lives back together.”

There are people in Hillsgrove who need more physical aid, however, she said.

There will be a “dig-out” on Saturday for which volunteers and shovels are needed. Anyone interested should contact the Hillsgrove Fire Co. at 570-924-3585.

Ionnone also said the Laporte Recycling Center, 4987 Route 220 in Laporte, is accepting donations that will go toward Dumpsters.