TEMA to survey flood-damaged areas as Spring City residents continue to recover
Spring City was one of the parts in east Tennessee hit hardest by flooding recently.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is assessing the damage to find out what they can do to help.
Dean Flener of TEMA says multiple factors come into play when providing disaster relief. He says they look at how much damage is done to local businesses, government buildings, and local homes.
But TEMA cannot completely repair people's homes from flood damage.
Gerald Gillespie says his air conditioning unit was damaged from the flooding and has no idea how he is going to fix it.
"And then I called them and they sent a guy out here to look at it. Then they called me back and said there isn't anything they can do about it since I don't have flood insurance,” Gillespie said.
FEMA will be inspecting over 40 counties in the next week to see who qualifies for disaster relief.
Flener says getting approval for relief funding can take time. But once an area is approved, the rebuilding process can begin.
"If we are granted that Federal Disaster Declaration to help county governments, then Spring City would be able to use the reimbursement funds to rebuild roads and public infrastructure,” Flener said.
But Flener says it's a harder process for individuals seeking help. They look at damage to homes and the unemployment rates of certain areas. And in most cases, he says the repair bill isn't TEMA's responsibility.
READ MORE | Hamilton County applies for FEMA flooding grants
“It’s the absolute frustrating thing about floods is because it always seems that the water rises fast and takes forever to fall,” Flener said.
Gillespie says he understands what TEMA can and can't do, but believes he isn't asking for too much.
"All I need is some help getting my unit fixed, and then, I'll be in good business. That's if they can help fix my unit,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie did say he is thankful there wasn't damage inside his home from the flooding, but worries about his neighbors with more rain on the way. He says he'll be praying the rain isn't too bad this weekend.