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Cuomo vows assistance for flood damaged counties

Gino Geruntino/WRVO

It's been more than a week since the first floods hit the Mohawk Valley region, causing millions of dollars in damage and prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare fifteen counties disaster areas.

Cuomo was in Herkimer County Sunday to talk about what assistance will be coming to the area following several rounds of flooding that severely damaged more than 150 homes.

The state is still waiting on President Obama to declare the Mohawk Valley a disaster area, which would allow for the release of FEMA funds to homeowners and municipalities. But, Cuomo also noted that his administration has a back-up plan in case FEMA funds are not readily available.

"The legislature is not currently in session, and we'll see how creative we can be on the state's side," Cuomo said. "But worst case scenario, I would be prepared to call a special session to have the legislature come back to deal with this issue if need be, because this is what government is all about."

As for the condition of the area's creeks and rivers, Cuomo says there is a delicate balance that has to be maintained to keep both residents and the environment viable.

"You don't want to disturb the creek any more than you have to disturb the creek," Cuomo said. "You want to preserve the ecology of the creek. On the other hand, the creek has to have the capacity to manage the flow when you have a storm, and the creek has to be able to manage that without overwhelming the residences that are along the creek."

Cuomo estimates the total amount of damage to the area to be between $60 and $80 million.

The Red Cross is also still providing assistance in the Mohawk Valley, with bases in Madison, Oneida and Herkimer Counties. Through Sunday, the group given out more than 7,500 meals and more than 2,200 clean up kits to homeowners in those counties.