Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew: The Aftermath

The Need-to-Know:

I need to hear ASAP about ANY damage to cultural resources. FEMA is in town doing an assessment. FEMA needs a minimum damage amount to declare a disaster.  I only need some absolute basics- a site and the type of damage to pass along to the FEMA representative in town. Please think broadly about cultural resources: cemeteries, buildings, collections, archaeology sites, parks, churches, archives, etc…..

thanks!
Laura Seifert
laura.seifert.chs@gmail.com

The Details from Lori Foley, Administrator, Heritage Emergency National Task Force:

(I am quoting her.)

Through the Public Assistance (PA) Program, FEMA provides grant funding for Emergency Work and for Permanent Work. Chatham County has received a disaster declaration, but so far only for the two categories that fall under Emergency Work – Debris Removal and Emergency Protective Measures. The first is self-explanatory. The second comprises steps that any cultural institution takes to protect its facility, such as covering windows with plywood, sandbagging to prevent water entry, or laying a tarp over a hole in the roof.

Under Permanent Work, in order for disaster aid to be made available for private nonprofits (PNPs) – which include libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, botanical gardens, arts organizations, and any cultural institution or historic site that has 501(c), (d), or (e) status – a dollar threshold in damages must be met for the county. For collecting institutions and historic sites, Permanent Work would include the restoration of buildings and their content (such as collections!) and of parks, recreational, and other facilities. In order for cultural institutions and historic sites to receive federal funding, Permanent Work must be approved by FEMA.

So I urge everyone to report to Laura any damage to:

  • Your building/facility – damage to the structure/envelope itself
  • The materials, equipment, and exhibition furnishings associated with the storage, display, preservation, or exhibition of collections and individual objects. This would include HVAC systems and fire suppression systems.
  • Collections and individual objects, including records and archives of the organization

The damages reported by cultural institutions are added into the county’s total estimate for Permanent Work. But if cultural institutions don’t report damage, it’s possible that the threshold may not be met. Please ensure that cultural heritage is on the radar of the assessment team!

Lori Foley