RICHMOND – To seek reimbursements for flood-related damage, be armed with proof of losses, about 20 area residents heard during a presentation at the Ray County Library.
Ray County resident Jay Harris said his place sustained damage due to high water, then he got the place back into shape and then more water came.
“It’s all back under water,” Harris said.
Based on Federal Emergency Management Agency rules, documentation is needed to prove Harris got hit by a one-two punch of water and more water.
Hardin City Clerk Patty Lam said three or four families near the city could not stay in their residences due to high water. County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Carl A. Harper Jr. said if they had to stay in a motel or incurred related expenses, then they may be eligible for reimbursement.
Harper and Ray County Commissioners Bob King and Allen Dale provided advice about making applications for FEMA reimbursements. To be considered in the process, the county first had to be included within a federal emergency declaration, which happened, Harper said.
At this point, FEMA will cover damages sustained from March 11 to April 16. Anything after April 16 is not covered at the moment, but Harper advised also documenting damages during the second period of flooding.
“There’s going to be a second phase, but it hasn’t been declared yet, so keep track of everything,” King said.
Harper provided forms FEMA wants filled out by the individuals, businesses and government entities which have sustained losses.
“Get your numbers on those sheets,” Dale said.
FEMA will investigate before-and-after descriptions of losses.
Dale said that, in addition to a written description and receipts, photographs and video are valuable in creating a well-documented presentation. For example, if a rock road washed out, photos showing the road before and after the damage would be helpful.
“Before” photos may not be available readily, Dale said.
In many cases, global positioning photos of property are available online, even if the owner is unaware of those photos. The images may help show properties before damage occurred.
Anyone with questions, Harper said, about how to make an application and what kinds of losses are covered may call Matthew Boley at the State Emergency Management Agency.
Harper said the government has calculations for such expeneses as using machinery to fight flooding.
“You want to record everything. The use of a forklift is $18.50 an hour,” he said, so calculating how many hours a forklift, utility vehicles for hauling sandbags and other equipment had to be used may be a reimbursable expense.
“Take pictures and document everything. You can’t have too much (documentation) for the federal government,” Dale said.
Harper said the deadline to seek FEMA funds is Nov. 20.