OSCEOLA, Neb -- As more storms roll in, FEMA teams are still making their way through the state, assessing damage from the previous couple of weeks’ worth of storms.
Things are looking better in Osceola, but a lot of damage remains. Gov. Dave Heineman said the total damage will be more than $20 million. FEMA teams aren't surprised by that number; they've seen the destruction firsthand during the past couple of weeks. Some homes have been devastated by up to eight feet of floodwater, but in each town the teams hear stories of hardship and loss.
"It's more than I can count. Every mother is the same way -- they keep everything, and what she lost no amount of insurance can bring back," said Yvonne Whiteley of FEMA.
Just two doors down, Katrina Talbot battled floodwater with sandbags, but as four and half feet poured into her basement. She eventually had to evacuate. By the time she came back, she'd lost almost everything.
"I was fishing for stuff from the stairs. I lost my washing machine, dryer, heater and freezer," Talbot said.
Heineman said damage is spread across the state and it will be costly. He estimates the price tag will be more than $20 million.
"Over 1,500 homes have been impacted one way or another, 36 homes have been destroyed and 95 have had major structural damage," Gov. Heineman
FEMA teams have seen that destruction firsthand and are wrapping up assessments in 61 counties this week, but with more storms on the way, they say they'll stick around for as long as necessary. Towns like Osceola may need them to if more rains pound the state.
"At least now it has a place to go. The basement is empty, it will keep it off the first floor," Talbot said.
FEMA officials say they've seen that upbeat attitude everywhere they've gone. They've also seen communities come together in ways they will never forget.
FEMA hopes to finish assessment this week and compile their report soon. Heineman said he also hopes to have a complete damage assessment by Friday.
FEMA Assesses Damage as New Storms Arrive
June 12, 2008