Chesapeake hurricane victims feel forgotten, search for help

13News Now Steven Graves has the story

CHESAPEAKE, Va (WVEC) -- On the small, tucked away John Street in western Chesapeake, residents were shocked by the high water from Hurricane Matthew.

A big, clogged drain created a mess for low lying areas.

"Big Recycling bins and trash cans were plugging the holes," said resident Lance Jorgenson.

"Anytime the water is covering the mailboxes, it's a mess,” resident Mathias Overton. “And the only reason it didn't reach my house is because we're up on the hill."

About 400 houses are damaged in Chesapeake, according to the city.

About a dozen are unlivable along John Street.

The Red Cross has stepped in to assist some of those struggles homeowners.

"There's one at the end of the street that is going to be destroyed,” said a volunteer. “These people just have a horrible road ahead of them."

Jorgenson said the city has been out to assess before, but feels like more needs to come. 

"I think we've been forgotten because we're close to Suffolk here. We're on the other side of 664 and there's not a lot of traffic or knowledge about this area," Jorgenson said.  

"[Damages] have been accumulating so fast," said Jay Tate, Director of Development for Chesapeake. "Nothing like we've seen. We had some flooding in ‘99 that was pretty severe, but not to this level."

Monday, the city said it's working on securing a disaster declaration.

"If [damages] meet that threshold and the President declares it, we would then have available resources to assist the public through grants," said Tate.

In the meantime, residents with concerns should call officials..keeping in mind it's a busy time.

"The other thing I would say is to keep an eye on the formal declaration and that will potentially offer up some resources for them to restore their houses," said Tate.

FEMA teams are now assessing damage. Tate could not present cost figures so far. He said Monday marked the second time the city came out to the street and cost figures from FEMA are expected at a later date.


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