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The Telegram
  • Flooding aftermath: ‘We lost everything again’

  • Mohawk resident Kelhi Giarrusso Saturday stood in the muck of what once was her shed floor and shoveled mud into a wheelbarrow as she reflected on the aftermath of Friday’s storm.



    We lost everything seven years ago, and we lost everything again,” said the Columbia Street resident, referring to the storm of 2006.

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  • Mohawk resident Kelhi Giarrusso Saturday stood in the muck of what once was her shed floor and shoveled mud into a wheelbarrow as she reflected on the aftermath of Friday’s storm.
    We lost everything seven years ago, and we lost everything again,” said the Columbia Street resident, referring to the storm of 2006.
    This time, her basement at one point had 4.5 feet of water, which  ruined her furnace, water heater, washer, dryer, computer and Christmas decorations.
    But she remains optimistic, especially with the comfort of how the community — most of which still was without power — was pulling together.
    “We didn’t lose a life, and we didn’t lose our entire home,” she said. “We will get through it with a little bit of elbow grease."
    Herkimer County was so hard hit that firefighters from as far as Watertown were there Saturday to help in the clean-up efforts.
    “We've been out here since 8 a.m. dewatering basements and yards," town of Watertown fire capt. David Johnston said while assisting in Mohawk. "We have the easy job. The homeowners are left with the giant mess."
    The region was such a mess that Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured the Herkimer area Saturday and conducted a mid-afternoon news conference there.
    He urged residents to be patient, saying the priority right now was to make sure residents were safe.
    "People are anxious to get on with their lives," he said "The first order of business is to make sure the situation is stabilized and just making sure people are safe."
    The news wasn’t so good though in nearby Montgomery County. Fort Plain resident Ethel Healy remained missing Saturday after her Reid Street mobile home was washed away by rising waters Friday, said Fort Plain police Chief Robert Thomas.
    Cuomo also praised the efforts of local first responders, and said a disaster declaration remains in effect for numerous counties, including Herkimer, Oneida and Madison.
    The area should qualify for federal assistance, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be in the area assisting residents within the next few days, Cuomo said.
    To get in contact with FEMA, residents should call 1-800-621-3362.
    There is no significant rainfall expected in the region until Monday, which Cuomo addressed.
    "We think the worst is behind us," he said.
    But the worst still may lie ahead for other areas such as North Utica, where a flood warning continues for the Mohawk River until further notice, according to the National Weather Service. The river is expected to steadily rise until Monday evening.

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