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A month after the Memorial Day flood, residents of Lindley Drive in Monaville were still cleaning up--and still waiting for help from FEMA.
Andrew Mullins, who got two feet of water in the house he built himself and had just finished remodeling, did get a temporary travel trailer from FEMA. But SBA turned him down for a loan to fix his house. Now, he had to see if FEMA would give him any money. The water weakened his foundation and soaked his carpets and damaged mechanical units under the house.
Andrew Mullins 'home a month after the flood. Water rose nearly to the top of the fence.
Even more than house repairs, Mullins would like some government agency to fix Island Creek through Monaville--and the railroad bridge that he thinks got blocked and caused water to spread out over both sides of the creek. Mullins thinks the creek needs to be dredged and the bridge cleaned out. Two of the four cylinder openings under the bridge have been partially blocked for years, he said.
"Trees and garbage block the bridge," he said. "It flooded in '96."
The railroad bridge that gets blocked by debris during heavy storms.
Mullins has lived in that spot for 26 years, and would like to remain. Now, however, he moves his vehicles every time it rains, for fear of flooding. He had raised his house six cement blocks but needs to raise it twice as high to be safe. The six blocks cost $5,600. After the flood, though, the going price for the second raise is $10,000, he learned. But raising could lower the price of flood insurance that he can't afford now. Since the community is flood-prone, insurance would cost as much as $1,400 a year.
One neighbor used his own money to raise his home out of flood danger.
Across Island Creek from Mullins, Mae Ellis was in even worse shape a month after the flood. Her house is just about ruined. She lost her refrigerator and washer and dryer. Her son and his girlfriend, Gloria Scott, have been helping Ellis clean out the house and wipe mud off treasured belongings. I met Scott as she was carefully wiping off a table-full of knick knacks.
"The water came so fast," Scott said. "We had time to grab clothes, and that was about it. The water was up to our waists."
"It hasn't been good at all," she answered when I asked her how the recovery process was going. "They give you so much runaround. They want you to forget and go away."
Ellis, 64, has been so upset that she has been in the hospital twice. Her husband has had open heart surgery, and another son died in June. "This lady has been through hell," Scott said.
Just that day, they had gotten a letter from FEMA denying Ellis an individual grant. FEMA pointed out she does have flood insurance. For the second time, Scott had to Fax Fema the policy showing that it does not cover personal belongings.
The flood insurance is going to send its payment of $20,000 to the bank to pay off the mortgage. But SBA turned Ellis down for a loan, saying she had too many debts.
I asked Scott if she had any ideas why it flooded. "Like other people, I think when they do mountaintop removal, it pours off the mountains, and the streams fill up to fast."
Mae Ellis's home.