AUSTIN (KXAN) — There was a lot of visible flood damage from Memorial Day Weekend along rivers and creeks, but there are still a lot of problems in neighborhoods that may seem OK. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said people need to report their damage, no matter the extent, to get help and notify inspectors.
“I’m actually really surprised, I never thought I would have water in my house,” said Rachel Elsberry, who has lived in her home near US 183 and Lamar Boulevard for nine years. She was watching the weather on the news and washing dishes when she saw her backyard turn into a lake. “Watching (water) come through the house and not being able to stop it it was a really crazy feeling.”
Elsberry’s home had several inches of water throughout it. She does not have flood insurance because she doesn’t live in a floodplain, along a creek, or a river.
“What happened in Wimberley and Hays County is horrible, but I think people kind of weren’t thinking that people here had an issue and I think that’s why Travis County wasn’t immediately part of the disaster deceleration,” said Elsberry. “There’s a lot of damage in town, and more than anything it’s a hassle, a disruption. I mean it’s not going to be life-ending or life-altering, but my life is a little bit up in the air right now.”
Elsberry applied for FEMA assistance on Tuesday since Travis County became part of the disaster deceleration. She said an inspector came to her house the next morning and she was approved for help the same day.
“It was really quick and I’m very amazed at that process, how great the inspector was,” said Elsberry, who had planned to just remove the flooring and wait until she could afford to clean it up.
“We’ve been very fortunate and having someone call from a neighborhood we perhaps didn’t know before,” said Robin Smith, a spokesperson for FEMA. “We’re actually able to communicate with some new possible registrants and ask them to be aware of the fact that they do qualify to register, and to do so as soon as possible because that’s going to allow the inspectors to come out as quickly as possible and help.”
No matter the extent of the damages, Smith encouraged people to call because the state is still doing preliminary damage assessments. She also said people help others out by reporting, because they are then able to get inspectors on the ground.
How to contact FEMA
1-800-621-3362 to report damages
FEMA said there are 11,435 households registered statewide and $20.6 million approved for the 23 counties declared a disaster area. Authorities said of the 11,435 households who have registered, FEMA inspectors have currently completed 82 percent of the inspections.
Travis County Emergency Management says 24 homes were destroyed and 10 homes suffered major damage throughout the county. So far, 150 people have registered for help from FEMA.