By Megan Alley
Local government leaders held a press conference on March 1 in the village of New Richmond to give an update on the impacts of recent flooding from the Ohio River and share information on the relief efforts for affected areas.
Officials also addressed a tornado that touched down in the southeast part of Clermont County overnight on Feb. 24, cutting through parts of Washington, Monroe and Franklin Townships as well as the villages of Neville and Felicity.
Clermont County Commissioner and longtime New Richmond resident David Painter opened the briefing.
“We want to thank all the residents of Clermont County whose lives have been affected by this flood and the corresponding tornado,” he said. “We know that you’re working hard, and we’re working hard on your behalf; we’ll make sure that you get the help that you need.”
Painter thanked all the first responders and emergency workers who helped those in New Richmond and the surrounding, impacted communities.
He also thanked the New Richmond Exempted Village School District and Superintendent Adam Bird for working closely with support agencies and for hosting the county’s command center operations and the American Red Cross shelter.
“The outcome has been so good,” Painter said. “There has been no one hurt from this flood in Clermont County, and no one hurt from the corresponding tornado, and I think that record right there speaks for itself.”
When discussing resources, Painter said that the county building department is currently assessing damage.
“We’ll continue to list that damage and work through that list,” Painter explained.
Furthermore, the county commissioners approved a resolution to waive building inspection permit fees relating to the reoccupation of buildings affected by the flooding.
However, Painter reminded residents that they still need an inspection and a permit to reoccupy buildings and structures that were evacuated.
When it comes to reconnecting utilities, Painter urged residents to first make sure that all floodwaters have receded, including from basements. They should also clean mechanical and electrical devices, and then call the building department at 513-732-7213.
“They will take your application and start the process,” he said.
Then, Greg Roberts, village administrator, went over some details to help residents.
“There are still people who are displaced and who are unable to get into their homes,” he said.
Anyone in the affected areas with personal unmet needs is directed to contact the American Red Cross flood hotline at 513-579-3048.
A donation distribution site was set up at First Baptist Church of New Richmond, located at 213 Western Ave, and Matthew 25 Ministries was scheduled to be there daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through March 5.
“They have cleaning supplies and hygiene supplies,” Roberts said. “They are also working with Proctor & Gamble, Tide and Cintas.”
He added, “For the most part, currently, residents here – I can speak only for New Richmond – are cleaning things up themselves,” Roberts said.
Representatives from Lowes were also on hand to distribute cleaning supplies and water.
Residents were reminded that the church site was not a donation center.
Alternatively, the Salvation Army is accepting donations at its six area drop-off locations, which are open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’re accepting clothing, cleaning supplies and non-perishable food, Roberts said.
In that vein, financial donations can be made at Park National Bank locations. They should be made to the Ohio Valley Long Term Recovery Committee.
Monetary donations can also be made to reputable disaster relief organizations operating in the affected communities, Roberts said.
Any person or group who wants to volunteer should call the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency at 513-735-8500.
Additionally, an organized volunteer cleanup day is being assessed, and more information is forthcoming.