Flooded Long Island Homes Salvageable: FEMA

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork
    Serious flooding in Riverhead, Long Island.

    Marie Trent, 73, swept a front walk filled with debris while her husband, Porter, 77, kept watch on the pump removing five feet of water from their basement.

    It was another difficult day for the elderly Riverhead couple whose home of fifty years is one of about a dozen devastated by flood water last week along Horton Avenue.

    "It takes a lot out of you, " Marie Trent sighed. "You try to stay positive because you can't give up."

    And some positive news finally came for the Trents and their neighbors on Monday:  A Federal Emergency Management Agency official leading a tour of the flooded neighborhood said he believed the damaged homes there are salvageable. 

    The assessment came amid residents' fears that their homes would be condemned.

    Still, FEMA's team made no promises about what help is on the way for the residents.

    "It's still early in the process," said FEMA's Ken Curtin. "We can't really say yet what they can expect in terms of help."

    But before the federal government can provide aid, New York Governor David Paterson must ask for a federal disaster declaration.  Yet that can't come until after the damage assessment process is complete, and that could take a week, according to one state official.

    "Something's got to be done," said homeowner Arthur Childress, as he tried to start a car that had been covered by floodwater for days.  "Until then, we'll just have to wait and see."

    The Trents hope they can remain in their home.

    "I want them to clean up this area," said Marie Trent. "There's no way we can take a mortgage on a new home and start over."