EPA continues recovery from ice storm disaster

Update– Ice Storm Damages:
You may be able to deduct losses on your tax return:

“You generally must deduct a casualty loss in the year it occurred. However, if the property was damaged as a result of a federally declared disaster you can choose to deduct that loss on your return for the tax year immediately preceding the year in which the disaster happened. A federally declared disaster is a disaster that took place in an area declared by the President to be eligible for federal assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. If you have already filed your return for the preceding year, you may claim the loss by filing an amended return, Form 1040X.“ – IRS Publication – Disaster Resource Guide.

If you had a loss, you may be able to deduct when you file your 2013 return instead of waiting until next year. Read the IRS publication for further details.

The severe ice storm that occurred Feb. 5 left more than 800,000 SE Pennsylvania residents without electrical power or heat. The next day President Obama signed an emergency order declaring Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to be disaster areas. This declaration makes federal aid available to the five counties.

As of 6 a.m. Sunday, approximately 67,500 customers were still without utility service:
Bucks County = 13,000
Chester County = 34,000
Delaware County = 2,500
Montgomery County = 15,000
Philadelphia County = Less than 500
York County = 2,400

The ice storm was the second-largest service disruption in PECO’s history, and it resulted in the most people ever being without power during a winter storm. Fallen trees have also damaged many homes and properties, forcing evacuations and a need for resources.

Residents are asked to report any damages to their county emergency management office or to their county VALs (Voluntary Agency Liaisons—see list below) to help identify the need for federal aid.
• Montgomery County: Tim Elbertson: telberts@montcopa.org
• Chester County: Janet Zeis: jzeis@chesco.org
• Delaware County: Ed Kline: ekline@delcodes.org
• Bucks County: United Way of Bucks County, Danielle Bush: danielleb@uwbucks.org

The attached, 13-page document (in PDF) lists warming stations and shelters open as of Sunday.

Ice Storm Recovery

Since cleanup efforts will be needed in the coming weeks, all churches are asked to gather information about damages in their areas and share that information with their District Disaster Coordinators.

The Disaster Response Ministry is working closely with local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) and municipalities to determine needs in storm damaged areas. Cleanup will take several months. We want to be prepared to go out into our communities to serve those in need. Resources will be direly needed. So the more information we can gather, the better our disaster response will be.

Here are your District Disaster Coordinators:
• East: Lynn and Gary Jaeger – lynncjaeger@live.com; gljaeger@live.com
• Southeast: Rev. Daniel Lebo – dlebo23@gmail.com
• Central: Myra Maxwell – myrajmax1@yahoo.com
• Southwest: Rick Rimert – rrimert@comcast.net
• Northwest: Nan Crews – nancrews@hotmail.com
• Northeast: Greg Ellis – gsellis66@verizon.net

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact your Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Debra DePrinzio: ddeprinzio@comcast.net

Debra DePrinzio
EPA Conference Disaster Response Coordinator
and Youth/Adult Mission Team Coordinator
The United Methodist Church

We will update this information as more details become available.