Cherokee Co. collecting reports of flood damage

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 19:50:38-05

As of Tuesday, the Cherokee County Emergency Management reported they have a list of 18 businesses and 53 other addresses with flood damage following record flooding in December.

One of the homes damaged belongs to Alicia Franke in Proctor.

"It was 10 feet underwater," Franke said. "It was all the way up to the rafters. Just covered all the house."

She said, thankfully, they hadn't moved into the home because they were still remodeling, but the flooding still set them back considerably. 

Inside the home, grass and dirt still sits on the rafters from the flood water. Franke said the surrounding community is helping her family and many others as much as it can.

"There is a local nonprofit called Rise Up that organized a cleanup," she said. "We had friends and volunteers, people we didn't even know, that came out a couple days to help us."

Another community group called Tahlequah Cares is collecting items for people suffering from flood damage. They have also been collecting information on flood damage that it is handing over to emergency management. 

Even though flooding is no longer a concern, the damage remains and many are asking one question when it comes to assistance following the storm.

"I think a lot of us are wondering where is the federal or the bigger scope of this," Franke mentioned.  

It is a question Scott Pettus, deputy director of Cherokee County Emergency Management, said he is hearing often.

"Events like this happen quickly," Pettus said. "Unfortunately the recovery process doesn't often happen as quickly as we would like."

Pettus told 2 Works For You on Tuesday, representatives with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management will be traveling along the Illinois River starting Thursday. They will be viewing damage that Cherokee County officials are already aware of, plus looking for any other damage from December's floods. Their report will then head to Governor Mary Fallin.

"She'll look at it. If the threshold is met, it will be turned over to the federal level, to the president," Pettus said.

He went on to say that President Obama's office could send FEMA in to offer assistance. 

Pettus said if anyone has damage in Cherokee County they haven't reported yet, they should contact his office at 918-456-2894. 


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