FEMA Disaster Recovery Center Opens - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


FEMA Disaster Recovery Center Opens

Many East Texans are still recovering and rebuilding from the floods earlier this month.

Now the President has approved Smith and Cherokee counties' disaster declaration, FEMA is here ready to deliver federal aid.  

Leroy Pace faces severe erosion on his cattle ranch near Lindale, and hopes for help to shore up and prevent another disaster.

"After [the water] came through here, it kind of scattered out some.  Some of it went over in this direction, and more over in this direction," he says, pointing to ruts on his dirt road where several feet of water cascaded through. 

He believes the flooding was made worse by runoff from recent nearby residential development.

"Coming with the force it was coming, it was really scary, because it was coming so fast down that road and across here," he says.

The cattle graze, but it's the land where they stand that was carved away in the rains.

To build up and level this land -- to make it all productive again will cost thousands.

"It takes a tremendous load of dirt to fill up what looks like a small hole.  At the Disaster Recovery Center, FEMA workers and those from the Small Business Administration guide folks through the process to get grants or loans.

Flood victims need to bring identification and any insurance information.  Photos of the damage are most helpful.  Also, the agency wants to help with the future.

"Our mitigation person can help make their home less susceptible to damage," says Center manager John Veach.

"We give them ideas of what to do.  For instance, [homeowners can build] a drain or build a retaining wall," he says.

That's exactly what Pace wants to keep water off his property.

"We could build some kind of terrace or something to keep that water out -- so it'll turn that water so it won't come right down on top of us," he says.

Pace is considering a loan to help get his ranch on firm footing, and hopes for some drier days ahead.  

The mobile Disaster Recovery Center is located at 412 Fair Park Drive in Tyler. It will be there through Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

You can also register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or online at www.fema.gov.

FEMA will also be in Jacksonville Friday through Sunday at a location to be announced soon.

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