Officials tour tornado zone on slim hope of building case for government assistance
It may take a lot of volunteers to clean up Darien and Corfu following last Saturday's category 1 tornado.
Bill Clark, regional director for New York's Emergency Management Office, didn't make that prediction, but if you add up what he told Corfu and Darien officials yesterday afternoon, that's what it sounds like.
In order to trigger state or federal assistance, there needs to be 25 uninsured homes in the disaster area, and in Darien and Corfu there weren't much more than 25 homes total that were damaged. It's likely most of them were insured. For SBA assistance to kick in, there needs to be five businesses damaged. There may be only three businesses damaged in the tornado. It's unclear if farms can be included in that count, or if they are a USDA issue.
Corfu Mayor Todd Skeet said volunteer efforts are under way and are ongoing, but doesn't think that will be enough. In the end, he's looking for his state to step up and provide assistance.
Out at Petals and Plants, the first stop for Clark and his survey group, Jim Grant, father of the business owner, said if his son doesn't get assistance to haul way the greenhouse debris and rebuild the greenhouses, the nursery and flower shop will not reopen. The greenhouses were not insured.
But Clark and his team did survey the entire tornado zone yesterday and will file a report with the governor's office. Clark stressed repeatedly the importance of gathering thorough and complete data as the best way to make a case for assistance. It will take some time before we know the results of the findings.