Deadline For Ice Storm Help Approaching

Monday, February 5th 2007, 3:39 pm
By: News On 6

If you suffered damage in the recent ice storms, and you don't have insurance, the state wants to hear from you, and fast! A hotline is open to take your calls until 7 p.m. Monday. Those calls will be used to make the state's case to the federal government for individual help.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg talked with one such individual in the small McIntosh County town of Hitchita.

Carolyn Putman didn't have any trees fall on her house. That's the good news, the bad news is she makes her living off the trees; Carolyn harvests pecans.

"It's bad to lose any part of the tree, because in a good year, there could be 50 to 100 pounds of pecans on one limb, so you lose a lot that way,” Putman said.

So for each limb they lose, they lose hundreds upon hundreds of pecans. She figures they won't even get half the usual number of pecans this year, which hurts their livelihood.

"About like everybody else's. It's going to go down the drain," Putman said.

She doesn't know if it's even possible to insure pecan trees, but suffice it to say these aren't. She says she's been trying to get through on the state hotline to report the damage but with no luck.

"We called early this morning, and all they said was we're helping utility companies. And then, we've been calling all day long and the line has been busy," said Putman.

Michelann Ooten with the state department of Emergency Management says don't give up.

"We urge them to go ahead and continue trying to make that call, and understand that if they are not able to get their call in before 7 o'clock tonight, they can go ahead and report those damages to their local emergency manager," Ooten said.

The state hotline number is 877-628-5297, and it will be working until 7o’clock Monday night. Even if you can't get through, you can still be eligible for help, just call your local emergency management officials. If you don't know who those are, check with your county commissioners.