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Don Maulding spent all morning cleaning up water around his home in Clearwater. With the water dropping, he didn’t think twice about stopping for a sandwich for lunch.
But in that 20 minutes, a little bit of water turned into a raging river through the south side of Clearwater as a combination of rain and snowmelt flooded the community.
“I picked up the dishes and walked over to the sink. It felt like I was on a boat,” Maulding recalled on Saturday afternoon as he shared his story with FEMA representatives.
“There was water everywhere. It was like the Colorado River going by my house. It happened in 20 minutes,” Maulding said while standing in his home, which he no longer is living in due to the water damage and fear of mold in the walls.
Maulding, who will turn 92 in July, gave the government workers a tour of his home two weeks after the flood, explaining his plans to replace sheet rock and raise the floor several inches.
Antelope County, like most in Nebraska, has not been declared a federal disaster for personal property — yet. Representatives from FEMA are encouraging residents to fine claims, no matter how small, to increase the likelihood the county will be moved into the disaster declaration category.
The Disaster Survivor Assistance Team (DSAT) spent Saturday in the county helping residents register for help and quickly identify and address immediate and emerging needs.
The team also provided application updates and referrals to additional community resources for remaining needs.
They toured Antelope County as part of the preliminary damage assessment. Besides the Maulding home in Clearwater, they also toured homes in Royal, Elgin and Oakdale.
“We’re trying to help people get what they need to rebuild and repair,” one of DSAT representatives said. “There are a lot of levels of damages, but we’re not here to tell you what to do.”
Antelope County Emergency Management Director Bob Moore was also on the tour and said the message he heard time and again was encouragement to file claims because more claims may lead to more assistance.
“Whether you have rain water that came through your roof and filled your house with an inch or two of water or more, they still need to contact us,” said one of the DSAT representatives.
Among the documentation needed, he said, was denial of insurance coverage.
“Get that in writing,” he said.