Irene’s wake: Corbett, PA Delegation Ask Obama for Disaster Declaration

By David Gerber, Contributing Writer

When it comes to disaster recovery, Democrats and Republicans agree that government spending is a good thing.

Governor Corbett this afternoon officially requested that President Obama declare a disaster in the parts of Pennsylvania affected by Hurricane Irene. He was joined by several members of PA’s congressional delegation and local officials.

According to FEMA, such a declaration would put into motion long-term federal recovery programs, some of which are matched by state programs, and designed to help disaster victims, businesses and public entities.

Southeastern PA, including Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, have experienced widespread wind damage and flooding this weekend. The Delaware River is above flood stage, and expected to crest at its highest level for over a century.

Bucks County is affected by the river more than anywhere in the state. Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick today wrote to President Obama supporting Governor Tom Corbett’s request for a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania stemming from damages suffered in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Fitzpatrick’s statement included a similar urging from Bucks County Commissioner Charley Martin.

“I join with Congressman Fitzpatrick in urging the President to take immediate action on Governor Corbett’s request so that Bucks County and our entire region can clean up and rebuild,” he said.  “We stand ready to work with our state and federal partners for an efficient and swift effort.”

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila) released a similar statement, as did Rep. Lou Barletta whose 11th district was affected by the storm.

“I want to extend my condolences to the families of those who were killed here in Northeastern Pennsylvania during this storm. They and their families will be in my thoughts and prayers.”

Barletta also supports Gov. Corbett’s request and said he would send a letter to the President immediately.

PA is lending a hand to our friends across the Delaware. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tweeted earlier, “PA has sent ambulances to New Jersey. Thank you to Gov. Corbett.”

Two days ago, Gov. Tom Corbett declared a statewide disaster emergency to enable state, county and municipal governments to respond effectively to the impact of Hurricane Irene. The proclamation authorized state agencies to use all available resources and personnel as necessary to cope with the emergency situation.

3 Responses

  1. Nice to know PA counties have been declared by Obama as disasters. Now would someone please inform FEMA,as we have yet to be listed. Also, if you search Irene Federal Disasters, there is news about declaration for other states, but not PA. Did it really happen? The declaration not the flood in my basement!

  2. Since tomorrow is the 6th Anniversary of Katrina it’s important that some myths be laid to rest. Here are some facts:

    While Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it was not a natural disaster for the city of New Orleans. The Army Corps of Engineers’ shoddy levees failed to hold up to a Category 3 storm. Most of the death and destruction in New Orleans was caused by the levee failures as well as the slow response by the Federal Government.

    While we in the Superdome believed the rumors of murders and rapes, in reality these could not be verified. There was a suicide, a couple of drug overdoses and about 5 deaths of medical patients.

    The Airport, Amtrak, and Greyhound shut down PRIOR to the evacuation of New Orleans. Many of us could not get out of town and ended up at the Superdome or Convention Center.

    The approximate 85% of residents who did evacuate is a higher level than most evacuations of its kind in the U.S.

    Those infamous flooded busses would have only evacuated about 5000 people as only half were operable and who was going to drive them as most of the locals had been forced to evacuate.

    Days after Katrina, Bush said, “No one could have foreseen the breach of the levees”. 6 months later a video and transcripts surfaced showing Bush being forewarned by the Head of the Nat. Hurricane Center, Gov. Blanco, “Brownie” and Nagin that this was going to be a devastating storm and quite likely the levees would be breached. Bush said, “Everything would be taken care of”. Thus he was caught in two lies.

    Paul Harris
    Author, “Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina”

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