HEARTLAND FLOOD: King Lake residents wait to hear if rebuilding is possible

By  | 

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Some residents in King Lake said they can't start repairing their homes from flood damage because they can't get the permits.

Ed Swirczek said the lack of permits has made cleaning up more difficult.

"Folks we're having trouble with are the permits people from Omaha. They're just dragging their feet, and I don't know who made the knee-jerk reaction to cut everybody's power line and pull the meters out here, but they did that a day-and-a-half after we started cleaning and we were using the power and the next day it was gone," he said.

Swirczek is using a series of generators to help him clean up, and he said he has received some funding from FEMA to rebuild his home.

"It's not quite enough, but what you do is take bids in after what they do and then they'll make adjustments 'cause if it wasn't enough, it wasn't enough," he explained.

Douglas County commissioners got a report from FEMA Tuesday morning explaining how the federal government helps after a disaster.

"What we do is help people in the short term, if you will, to get over that initial shock of this disaster. These are in the forms of grants from FEMA," Darrell Habisch with FEMA said.

Swirczek said he appreciates the help. Now, he's waiting to find out what officials decide about the future of his home and his community.

"Not right now, no. They're being assessed and each structure is being looked at individually and we'll determine as a whole once we get the whole picture of the area," Douglas County Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson said.

Commissioners said the assessments will tell them what homes will be able to be rebuilt and what won't be saved.

"Will King Lake exist? Well, again, there are some structures in the floodway from my understand won't, and then there are some that are in the flood plain, which again if there was not 50 percent of damage done to those you would be able to rebuild," Borgeson said.

Swirczek believes officials want to use the record flood as a reason to wipe out most of the homes.

Until the decision is made on the fate of the community, the residents wait and clean up what they can.