Brazil City Planning and Zoning Administrator Stacey Gibbens and Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband have been working with local flood victims in the Brazil area.
The rains began Tuesday, April 19, and the flooding continued into the next day.
"We're trying to get to everyone as quickly as possible," Gibbens told The Brazil Times about visiting the reported sites of damages throughout the city. "We've had approximately 10 reports made so far, but we know there are many more people out there with damages. We need everyone who has suffered damages during the recent floods to contact us as soon as possible. The deadline for filing for potential assistance from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is coming up fast."
According to officials, a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) will determine the magnitude and impact of the damage in the area because of the recent flooding.
Brazil resident Fred Prewitt lives in the area hit the hardest during last week's flooding.
Prewitt's home located in the John Street area received a yet undetermined amount of damage when more than 18 inches of water flooded the home located near Pogues Run.
"It's really disheartening. I just finished remodeling the house," Prewitt said. "I talked with neighbors before I bought this house. And while everyone told me about the flooding in this area in 2008, they believed, and me too, that it wouldn't happen again."
Wading through mud and debris caused by the recent flooding, Prewitt tries to keep in good spirits.
"My wife has had it," he said while throwing out damaged appliances. "I'm going to remodel it again. Just hope I can get it done before there is a problem with mold."
Prewitt said his homeowners' insurance wouldn't cover the damage.
"I'm not the only person dealing with this mess. There are others," Prewitt said. "All of us need to make sure we report the damages. The more people that report, the better off our chances are to get assistance."
Once a state of disaster is confirmed, FEMA provides supplemental assistance for approved State and local government recovery expenses, and the Federal share will always be at least 75 percent of the eligible costs.
For Prewitt, that 75 percent is worth taking the time to report the damages.
Husband told The Brazil Times filing a damage report is a lot easier than before.
"We don't hand out applications anymore,' Husband said. "It's all done electronically now."
According to Husband, people need to just contact Brazil City Hall or his office at the Clay County Courthouse.
"They just need to be prepared to leave their contact information," Husband said. "We will call them back as soon as possible and take more information about their damage, which goes directly into the computer system."
To report any flood damages from any recent flooding, contact officials at Brazil City Hall, including Mayor Ann Bradshaw's office at 443-2221, Brazil City Planning and Zoning office at 446-0050, or Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband's office at 448-8400. Victims need to document any damages, including standing water, with pictures.
"Wind damages can also be reported," Husband said. "There hasn't been too much damage in the county, most of it has been reported in the Brazil area."
While the FEMA damage estimate threshold is $80,000 and at least 20 homes affected, officials confirm Clay County isn't close to that yet. However, with flooding throughout the state becoming a problem, claims in Clay County could potentially get lumped in with other counties affected by the recent event.
"That is why we need people who suffered damages in the recent event to notify us of the damages," Husband said. "The more damage claims we have, the better our chances of receiving assistance."
Meanwhile, Mayor Ann Bradshaw told The Brazil Times the bid for work to repair the collapsed portion of a Pogues Run underground drainage tunnel that runs under John Street has not been approved at this time. However, the city has spoken with Knust Excavating, Brazil, and has received a bid from them, along with one other company, which will be reviewed during Thursday's meeting of the Brazil Board of Public Works and Safety.