While Clay County officially declared a state of emergency after recent flooding, part of the responsibility of securing federal funding is trickling down to local residents.
"If you've had any type of water damage from last week's storm, you need to call the office here," Interim Emergency Management Services Director Bryan Husband said. "I've had five homes and a business that didn't think they counted. Who knows how many others are out there?"
The county will report damage to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
Residents and business owners who had to pump water from buildings, drainpipes and driveways washed out, property damage, structural damage, wet ductwork insulation or damaged phone and cable lines should document the damage with photographs or written records if at all possible. They can then contact Husband at 448-8400 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with information including name, address, phone number and damage.
"FEMA will keep assessing damage. The more damage we can assess, the greater the chances we can get some assistance," he said. "That's why it was so important to get someone in this position, so we could declare. That's the main thing."
Once all the damage reports are submitted, FEMA officials will go to those locations to assess the extent of the damage. Although a deadline has not been announced, it's better to get damage information to Husband as soon as possible.
"We can keep adding to this until they say 'no more.' It could be a week," he said, adding he has already received calls from SEMA requesting damage information. "The more I can tell them, the more it helps. FEMA and SEMA love pictures, because they can actually see what happened."
Meanwhile, the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter has been responding to flooding in Clay, Greene, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties. The Red Cross has sheltered 12 families forced from their homes, distributed 19 clean-up kits and served 155 meals and snacks to disaster victims and sand baggers.
"We continue to closely monitor the situation in all six of the counties served by the Wabash Valley Chapter," said Wabash Valley Chapter Emergency Services Director Bonnie Lu. "However, it appears that the situation is most acute in Clay and Greene counties. Once the water recedes, the Red Cross response will transition from meeting the urgent emergency needs of the families to helping with recovery."
Residents who have been or will be affected by the flooding and are in need of assistance are encouraged to call 812-232-3393 or 1-866-GET-INFO.
Where to call
Clay County residents or business owners who have sustained any type of property damage from recent flooding should contact Interim EMS Director Bryan Husband at 448-8400 or by e-mail at clayema @claycountyin.gov. Be sure to include name, address, phone number and details of the damage.
Those interested in requesting assistance from the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter can call 812-232-3393 or 1-866-GET-INFO for details.