Cleanup phase begins in Austin flood recovery

A swollen Guadalupe River sweeps past a debris covered bridge, Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, in Gruene, Texas. Storms on Friday socked an already sodden swath of Texas that was still drying out from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia, forcing evacuations and shutting down a busy 10-mile stretch of interstate. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

 

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The flood waters have receded but what was left behind has turned out to be a deadly mess. The Onion Creek neighborhood was caught in chaos once more as rain began falling on Friday.

But now that the water is gone, Daniel Geraci from Austin Disaster Relief Network says, the next phase has begun.

“The biggest need is undergarments, but new undergarments, new socks, new blankets, new pillows, items like that they lost when the flood water came are also wanted. They really need it all right now,” said Geraci.

I met up with him at Dove Springs Recreation Center, what’s known as a information hub for those impacted.

“And really prepare them for the rebuilding and the repair phase. So we are going to need a lot of volunteers here,” said Geraci.

That message was amplified earlier as leaders called on community for support.

“Our hearts go out to those taken in the floods, and their families,” said Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt.

The call for help goes all the way up to Washington as State Representative Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, asked Governor Abbott to declare the affected areas as FEMA disaster areas.

‘Depending on the amount of damage, depending on the type of damage, that will depend on how much money we will be able to get in,” said Rep. Rodriguez.

The Governor’s office tells KXAN they have received the request and are currently checking if the area meets FEMA requirements.

According to city officials, the flood impacted more than 300 structures. 85 homes have been tagged as uninhabitable, and families can only go in to collect their belongings. Three homes have been deemed dangerous and no one can go inside at all.

People and animals are staying overnight at Dittmar Recreation Center: 87 people, fifteen dogs, and one cat now call that building a (temporary) home. Many more are staying with friends and family.

After many complained of looters two years ago, during the Halloween Floods of 2013, police are out in force.

“Once dark fall comes, only those people who actually live in the area will be admitted or readmitted.” said Commander Mark Spangler from Austin Police.

Lines of cars wait to prove they live in the Onion Creek neighborhood as police work to protect their property.

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