HARRISBURG, Pa. - Governor Tom Wolf says recent flooding has turned Pennsylvania into a disaster zone.
On Friday, Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency, citing flash flooding that has taken a toll on north and central portions of the state.
Recently the governor toured some of those areas, including Schuylkill County. Areas of Schuylkill County were hit by several rounds of severe flooding in the past few weeks.
The proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel to deal with the crisis.
It's also a first step in getting federal recovery money for the homes and businesses that were impacted by the floods.
Wolf also urged residents to take safety precautions to protect their health during clean-up activities.
"We want to make sure that all Pennsylvanians who are involved in or assisting with clean-up operations are staying healthy and safe as they work to recover from the flooding," Wolf said.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said flood waters can leave behind items that can be dangerous such as contaminated water, spoiled food, pests, raw sewage, fuel, hazardous chemicals and other debris in the water.
Additionally, Wolf announced a public inquiry hotline to citizens who need assistance cleaning up from the flooding.
Anyone who would like to request help can call 272-200-3211. The hotline will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. including weekends through Aug. 31.
Volunteers will provide physical labor such as mucking out basements, removing damaged flooding and drywall and removing debris, according to the governor's office of communications.
A Disaster Distress Helpline, which can be reached at 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7 national hotline dedicated to providing crisis counseling for people experiencing distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.
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