FEMA and MEMA survey coastal flood damage

FEMA and MEMA survey coastal flood damage

PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency visited Pearl River County on Tuesday to assess damage from severe flooding.

The organizations are helping Gov. Phil Bryant determine if there is a need to ask for a disaster declaration which could give flood victims some relief.

"From a record stand point it's as high as we've seen it in the last 20 years," said flood victim Ken Abney.

Abney spent Tuesday repairing the fence around his property.

"As the water came through, where we are standing it pushed the fence down. Just trying to put the fence back up and re-establish my fence line here," said Abney. "I grew up on the river all my life. I fought it before, and will probably have to fight it again."

L.E. Goutierez lost a fence as well, but repairing it will be a much bigger job.

"Washed all of that out, pushed the fence, and pushed a lot of my stuff, off into the river. I really don't know yet how much I've lost," explained Goutierez.

The Pearl River is practically at his door steps.

"We never had water come up from the river. It's gotten close, but it never has come in," said Goutierez.

That all changed nearly two weeks ago when his house took in a foot and a half of river water.

"It's overwhelming you don't really know where to start," Goutierez said.

Relief for folks like Goutierez could possibly be on the way. FEMA and MEMA reps began canvassing the Walkiah Bluff neighborhood on Tuesday to survey the damage.

"We're assisting the governor and the county officials to gather damage assessments numbers so that the governor can decide whether to make a federal declaration," said FEMA representative Sam Lockey.

The question residents want to know how is how it's shaping up.

Lockey said, "The damage is very obvious here. There are varying degrees, depending on where the water level is, and it's ranging from where the residents can still live in the house, to we have several here that are major where they had 18 inches or more of water in the house."

FEMA leaders told WLOX News Now that there is no real time table on when the governor would have to ask for a federal disaster declaration, if he decides it's needed.

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