Plymouth County: Area may receive disaster declaration after Irene

A Plymouth County may soon be declared a federal disaster area due to damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene–opening the door for disaster funds.

Marshfield Police Lt. and Emergency Management Director Paul Taber said the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency informed the town this week that Plymouth County may be one of five additional counties to become eligible for aid after assessment teams surveyed the area.

“I’m told it’s going to be a matter of days, not weeks, before we’re advised whether or not the President will declare Plymouth County a disaster area,” said Taber.

The damage threshold for a county to receive Public Assistance Disaster Funds is $1.6 million dollars and MEMA said this week that it looks likely that Plymouth County will reach that threshold, along with Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, and Norfolk counties.

Taber said that the majority of the damage was caused by trees downed by high winds. And while the winds died down long ago, the mess Irene left behind is still being cleaned up.

“Now we have to figure out what to do with the debris– and we actually have to bring in specialized equipment to take care of that debris so it can be hauled away,” said Taber.

Public Disaster Funds can only be used by government agencies and some non-profits to make storm-related repairs. Taber says he believes it’s unlikely Plymouth County will qualify for assistance to individuals or households.

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About Katherine Perry

Katherine Perry, a graduate of Duxbury High School and The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has really made her mark since her arrival at WATD. She is the daughter of the owner, Ed Perry, but that doesn't stop Katherine from consistently nailing out a solid news cast. She also works as a reporter, and specializes in in-depth features.