Residents encouraged to report storm damage

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BETHEL – While examining catastrophic flooding destruction from Gilead to Newry on Friday caused by Wednesday night’s band of thunderstorms, Scott Parker wants to hear from other affected towns.

“It’s not just a Bethel-area problem,” Parker, director of Oxford County’s Emergency Management Agency, said just down the road from Bethel Water District’s heavily-damaged water system..

If damage assessments reach a $1.6 million threshold, he said he can declare Oxford County a disaster area and seek federal funding for repairs.

“That may seem to be a lot, but, when you take out two bridges and roads like this storm did, it’s not that much. The governor has an immediate $80,000 available, but we’re looking for more money to support the initial effort, knowing that this is just a temporary fix,” Parker said.

He urged people to report damage to their town offices, town leaders or fire chiefs, or contact him at his Paris office at 743-6366.

On Friday, Parker said he was working with Newry officials to determine the extent of their damage. A Sunday River Ski Resort official called him Friday looking for sandbags. But when he said he had 2,000, they were actually looking for 100,000 or more.

“People need to be out taking pictures, they need to record their damage and get it to me. Initially, a lot of people didn’t think this was a disaster situation, because small towns in rural Maine have small groups of people who can handle things like this. But, the potential is here for a disaster situation,” Parker added.

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