Updated at 10:50 p.m. on Monday July 1
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The Red Cross announced that it was forced to close its shelter in Herkimer at the First United Methodist Church because of flooding. It will relocate to the Jorgensen Center at Mohawk Valley Community College located at 1101 Sherman Drive in Utica.
Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference at the Oneida Fire Department earlier on Monday and stated he is asking President Barrack Obama to issue a major disaster declaration for the state of New York after Friday’s floods.
Clean up costs estimates exceed $13 million but Cuomo cautions that the numbers don’t include many of the communities affected - including Oneida – because a full estimation can not be made until flood waters have receded.
A major disaster declaration would clear the way for federal assistance to help clean up the very costly mess. The governor's office said it is in contact with FEMA and as soon as the water resides, they will be on the ground to assist.
With more rain in the forecast for Monday night, it is only making matters worse for portions of Central New York affected by the floods including Herkimer, Madison and Oneida counties.
Cuomo said he understands that everyone is anxious to start the rebuilding process, but the first priority is public safety.
That is why many people in Oneida are still being kept from their homes and with the threat of more flooding a distinct possibility - they may have to wait longer – causing tensions to rise.
In the city of Oneida alone, up to 200 homes were severely damaged or destroyed from the flooding.
The city of Oneida’s waste water treatment plant - which is still underwater - could be the mostly costly part of the clean-up there.
In Herkimer County, the Salvation Army has been assisting victims and on Monday a van equipped to serve more than a thousand hot meals arrived.
The Salvation Army says it is still in need of bottled water, granola bars, juice boxes and individually packaged chips and cookies.
To donate, call (315) 866-1240.
Shelters are still open those unable to return to their homes. The following shelters are available to flood victims:
- Herkimer – Mohawk Valley Community College.
- Oneida – The YMCA on Seneca Street.
The Red Cross is in need of volunteers to help with the shelters, feeding and other services.
If you would like to help, you can go to their office on West Genesee Street in Syracuse between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday.