Flood relief options for those with or without insurance

Floodwaters remain high Tuesday night in parts of our region, taking over homes and roads.  Illinois State Police and the Department of Natural Resources Officers are encouraging families returning home to use extreme caution around the floodwaters.

Sherry Pecord and her daughter Ashlyn Brown went back to their farm near the Len Small Levee in Alexander County, Illinois.

“You can stand in our driveway and look right over there and see the levee break,” Pecord said.

 They said their shop near their home was carried away by the current.

“It’s like a raging rapid flow water running through your front and backyard. It’s crazy,” Pecord said.

She said it was there Sunday, but when they went back out there Monday morning it was gone. Their home is one of dozens affected, and now people are starting to come back to see what they can find.

Brown says they tried to gather some items Monday.

“The whole time I can hear water underneath the house, and the whole time I was thinking I just want to get out of here as quick as I can,” Brown said.

People near these homes say they could get flood insurance but chose not to, like the Pecords.

“It’s just not affordable. They don’t want us down here, so they make it very difficult to live here, because we are a liability to them,” Pecord said.

If your home is covered by flood insurance, document the damage. Take a picture when water levels are up and when they go down. Also, take a picture of damage contents inside your home before and after you remove them. In addition, Floodsmart.gov says to write an inventory of all personal items damaged, and receipts for purchase of any products, services for cleanup and repair.

Regardless of insurance, for anyone returning home the American Red Cross reminds people to not go back until officials say the area is safe. It’s what the Pecords are doing, waiting until it’s safe to start over. They say they’re not moving.

“It’s home, my husband’s a farmer, his family is third-generation farmers, and we love it down here. This is our livelihood. There’s no other place we want to be,” Pecord said.

For people without insurance, there are several agencies out there able to help depending on where you live.

There will be a multi-agency resource center in Cape Girardeau Saturday for disaster relief.  Its from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8 at the Salvation Army,  on 701 Good Hope Street. The MARC is a place where individuals affected by flooding in Cape Girardeau and North Scott Counties can come to receive a variety of goods, services and information from said partners.

The Southern Illinois Community Foundation also set up a fund for flood victims of the winter 2015-2016 flooding in Illinois. For information contact 618-997-3700 or on the web at sicf.org. To donate, go online or make checks payable to Southern Illinois Community Foundation (or SICF) and in the memo line note flood relief. All donations are tax deductible.

Anyone suffering from emotional distress due to flooding can contact the National Disaster Distress helpline at 1-800-9850-5990 for support and counseling.

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