Elected officials, employees of both Pelham villages and nonprofits are furiously at work aiding residents and business owners whose homes and premises were devastated by the flash flooding, record rainfall and winds brought by Tropical Storm Ida a week ago.
“The storm continued for hours, at one point dumping over three inches of rain in one hour,” said Pelham Manor Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey. “In Pelham Manor, many residents have experienced substantial property losses, particularly concerning basements and their contents, as well as vehicles.”
To local leaders, it is disheartening to hear the stories of how quickly so many homes were damaged overnight. “I’ve never seen a storm like this,” said Village of Pelham Mayor Chance Mullen. “Areas that had never been flooded were overwhelmed, and areas already at risk were devastated.”
As of Wednesday morning, the Pelham Fire Department had pumped out 100 homes and businesses.
Local nonprofit organizations have been working together to coordinate a response to help address the needs of community members.
“The chamber of commerce is working in close collaboration with the other nonprofits in our town to help address the needs of the community,” said Cristina Chianese, chamber president. The chamber is cooperating with Pelham Together, the Pelham Civic Association and the Junior League of Pelham in a program that matches volunteers with community members that need assistance.
“We are currently aggregating a list of businesses that could help support our residents with their services or offerings,” said Chianese. “We are also carefully monitoring the signup sheet to see what type of requests are submitted, with the hopes that we can help our residents find local businesses to support them.”
Westchester County announced Wednesday the Federal Emergency Management Agency established a Disaster Recovery Center for filing claims at the Mamaroneck Village Courthouse, 169 Mount Pleasant Ave. It’s not necessary to meet with FEMA in person to start a claim. Online claims applications can also be made.
Businesses across Westchester have also suffered due to Ida, from flooding, wind damage and power outages.
“Fortunately and unfortunately, we survive and thrive in adversity and this storm was no exception,” said Bill Weinblatt, president of Wise Hardware on Fifth Avenue. “As for Pelham coming together, yet again we saw neighbors helping neighbors and businesses helping other businesses.”
The chamber of commerce has purchased ten industrial fans through Wise Hardware which will be stored at Flour Power bakery. Officials hope the fans will arrive Friday morning and can then be used by anyone who needs them to dry out their homes or businesses.
Pelham Together Executive Director Laura Caruso said, “We’ve been coordinating needs with volunteers, some needing help hauling items to the curb, some cutting out carpet, some needing a place to do laundry and take showers, and some needing to borrow dehumidifiers and fans. It’s amazing how many people are ready to help. We just need to focus on finding the people in need in order to match them with volunteers.”
Caruso and others involved said they are paying special attention to reaching out to all members of the community, especially those who may not be on social media, including senior citizens.
“I’m proud of the work being done by our first responders, village staff and the sanitation crews from Oakridge that have been helping us clear things out last week, some of whom suffered losses themselves and are juggling family responsibilities with the work they’re doing for the community,” said Mullen. “But I don’t think any of us will be completely satisfied until all our residents can return to some semblance of normal.”
According to Monachino Lapey, “Our DPW, fire and police crews have worked tirelessly and around the clock to pump water and clear storm debris. We are so thankful for their competence and dedication.”
The chamber sent round meals to the police, fire and departments of public works in order to support the first responders working during and after the storm.
In a press release, the Village of Pelham said a village-wide pickup for appliances (white goods) will take place Friday. “There is no need to wait until Thursday night to place appliances curbside,” the release said. “If it needs disposal, place it curbside whenever you can, and we’ll take care of it on Friday.”
Meanwhile, Pelham Manor said storm debris cleanup will continue for the rest of the week. On Friday, the village collect all appliances and bulk metal from homes. “Residents must remove freon from any appliances they want picked up,” the Pelham Manor press release said. “You can leave the appliances/bulk metal at the curb for pickup.”
Meridian Risk is providing guidance and assistance to residents and can be contacted at the numbers below:
Jeannine Foxx: 914-738-9296
Tyler Garrow: 914-920-2884
Rob Raniolo: 914-368-1278