"This is the first step necessary to get help for those affected by the recent flooding," Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband told The Brazil Times. "We are scrambling right now to get the damage reports confirmed."
Husband and Brazil City Planning and Zoning Administrator Stacey Gibbens and have been working with local flood victims to create a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) to determine the magnitude and impact of the damage in the Brazil area, which is where most of the damage in Clay County has been reported.
Daniels signed Executive Order 11-06 declaring 34 counties that experienced flooding, damaged roads, downed power lines and other severe damage since the initial weather-caused emergency beginning April 18 as potential disaster areas.
These counties include Clay, Benton, Clark, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, DuBois, Floyd, Franklin, Gibson, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Ohio, Orange, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, Starke, Sullivan, Switzerland, Vanderburgh, Warrick and Washington.
The declaration of disaster emergency, which covers the widespread damage to homes, businesses and public property in the selected counties, was effective beginning April 18 and would continue for 30 days.
The disaster declaration means the Indiana Department of Homeland Security can take actions needed to provide expanded emergency services and is a step needed to request assistance from the federal government, if warranted.
"We're trying to get to everyone as quickly as possible," Gibbens said about visiting the reported sites of damages throughout the city. "Everyone who suffered damages during the recent floods needs to contact us as soon as possible before the deadline for filing for assistance from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)."
As additional requests from other counties come to the attention of the state Emergency Operations Center, the disaster declaration may be expanded to include more counties.
The FEMA damage estimate threshold for public assistance is set at $80,000 that affects at least 20 homes. Officials confirmed Wednesday evening that Clay County has reached the damage threshold. However, residents who sustained damage and haven't reported it to authorities need to do so as soon as possible.
Husband said no information is available at this time regarding individual claims.
"We don't have a closing date yet for the filing of claims, but people need to file them as quick as possible," Husband said.
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.