Black Earth looks to FEMA for help after flooding

BLACK EARTH (WKOW) — It’s a new normal for many people in the village of Black Earth, one month after record flooding damaged many homes and knocked out two bridges in town.

“August 21st we woke up to all the flooding. A little over a month,” said village administrator Shellie Benish.

With so many homes and businesses damaged, the community is now looking to the federal government for help.

“We’ve been waiting for them, hoping they would come into our community and do some assessments in hopes of getting some assistance for our homeowners,” Benish said.

Benish joined a crew from FEMA Tuesday as they inspected houses to determine if they are livable.

“They have seen several homes with major damage. You’ve seen that the one at the Center Street as well where the basement is collapsed,” she said.

“With houses, we’re looking at the scope of the damage. We’re looking at the amount of people that have been displaced, the foundation and stuff like that,” said Tiana Suber, media specialist with FEMA.

It could take about two to three weeks for FEMA and the state to determine the livability of each house once all the data is collected. Once that’s done, they will send it to the governor. He will then send to the president, who will make a disaster declaration in order to receive relief funds.

“It’s a big major scope of information that we get. And if that happens to be the case and we get a declaration, then their able to apply for federal assistance,” Suber said.

Benish understands the presence of FEMA is not a cure all by any means, but said they give the community a sense of hope.

“There’s a lot of history that went away with these flood waters and people’s personal belongings that can’t be replaced. FEMA may be able to come and help start rebuilding the community in that way. but it’s not going to replace those personal memories that were lost,” she said.

Benish says FEMA conducted residential inspections Tuesday. Wednesday, they will begin public infrastructure assessments. She said there were well over 140 homes and businesses damaged in the flooding.

More on this story from WKOW 27 News

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