Liberty County added to 'disaster declaration' list

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Today, FEMA added Liberty County to its 'disaster declaration' (KTRK)

Boat is the only way in and out of the Knight's Forest area of Liberty County. Homes are surrounded by the flooded Trinity River. Tuesday, emergency officials took to the air trying to find out just how much damage the flood has done to a 40 mile stretch along the river.

"There are probably still are about 500-600 homes that are surrounded by water," says Tom Branch with Liberty County's Office of Emergency Management. "Some of those homes have water in them now, and our job is to find out how much."
Branch says his office filed for FEMA assistance weeks ago. The process stalled because they couldn't get in to assess the damage.

"When you get down in some of the areas that are flooded, the water is swift moving," he says.

State and local emergency officials took a FEMA rep up in a helicopter Tuesday afternoon to see the damage from above. And hours later, Liberty County was added to the emergency declaration. That gives residents access to FEMA help. Good news for the people who sought shelter with the Red Cross and the folks who are riding the flood out.

"We've been boating people in and out, making sure everybody gets back and forth that has to go to the doctor or anything like that," says Dakota Gordon.

He lives in Knight's Forest. Debbie Walker also lives in that area. We met her at the Red Cross shelter making a run for her neighbors who couldn't get out.

"There's a lot of people in Knights Forest that can't get out, so those of us that can be boated out, we take and share and make sure everyone's taken care of," she tells us.

The river has only gone down about a half foot in two weeks. As slowly as that's happened, emergency officials and people who live along the damaged areas are crossing their fingers that the rain stays away until the Trinity River goes back in the banks.

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floodingLiberty County
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