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Tue, Sept. 17

Flooded area may not get federal funds
County continues to clean up Beaver Dam/Littlefield area after rains last week

KINGMAN - Mohave County is continuing to help residents of Beaver Dam and the Littlefield area pick up the pieces after massive flooding last week, but the area may not qualify for federal or state loans.

Arizona Department of Emergency Management teams along with employees of the Mohave County Development Services, Public Works and Emergency Management spent most of the day Tuesday in the area for a preliminary damage assessment, said ADEM Public Information Officer Judy Kioski. The assessment is used to determine if the area is eligible for federal or state aid and low-interest loans for repairs to utilities and infrastructure.

The county must meet certain criteria in order to apply for federal or state aid. In order to qualify for the loans, the county must report damage to at least 25 primary residences and businesses with an uninsured loss of at least 40 percent of estimated fair replacement or pre-disaster fair market value of damaged property. The county must also report a concentration of more than 100 uninhabitable primary residences that are uninsured or underinsured in order to apply for the Federal Emergency Management Administration's Individual Assistance Program.

The county held a public meeting Wednesday at the Beaver Dam High School to update residents on flood damage assessments. The number of damaged homes currently falls short of the federal loan requirement. The assessment teams reported that only seven homes were permanently or temporarily uninhabitable and 10 homes had minimal damage. At least six of those homes were completely washed away by the flood. An additional 140 homes that did not have water or structural damage were impacted by a temporary loss of water and sewer service.

The assessment teams are continuing to explore all options of aid for the community. They are also estimating the damage to public infrastructure in the area.

Those estimates should be available the first week of January.

The flooding started after heavy rains hit the area on Dec. 19. At that time, the county's mobile operations center was dispatched to the area. The county declared an emergency situation on Dec. 21 and evacuated residents.

The flood destroyed six homes and damaged eight more in the Beaver Dam Resort and entered several homes along Park Place, and washed away part of Clark Gable Drive before subsiding on Dec. 22. The water peaked at approximately 9,000-cubic-feet-per-second, nearly 4.7 feet above normal, according to County Public Information Officer Darryle Purcell.

A dike made of concrete highway barriers created by Mohave County Engineering Manager Monte Wilson prevented further damage to area homes. According to Mike Hendrix, the Mohave County deputy county manager for Development Services, Monte spotted a pile of the barriers that had been stored at a county yard since the 2005 Beaver Dam Wash flood. He directed local contractors to move barriers in such a way as to create a dam that diverted water away from a number of homes. Hendrix estimates that the quick fix may have saved 10 to 20 homes in the area.

The county started allowing residents to return to their homes on Dec. 23. The Mohave County Environmental Health Department is still recommending that residents of the Beaver Dam/Littlefield area avoid contact with the floodwaters. The local water and sewer company had to shut off services after the flooding damaged a sewer lift station. The county is currently providing water, chemical toilets and roll-off Dumpsters to residents. The Environmental Health Department is working with the utility companies to get the lift station back in operation. The county has been notified that the tap water is safe to drink.

More than two dozen personnel from the county's Development Services, Economic Development, Office of Management and Budget, Procurement, Health, Public Works, Building, Flood Control departments and the Sheriff's Office responded to the emergency.

Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan sent 10 inmates from the county jail to help fill sandbags during the event.

There have been no reports of property crimes or looting during the flooding. However, Sheahan has pledged to continue additional patrols of the area.

The county credits the quick evacuation of the area by deputies and county employees for the fact that no one died during the flooding. It also credits improvements made to the area after the 2005 flood. The county spent about $10 million after that flood to install several rainfall and stream flow monitors in the wash, build a new bridge over the Beaver Dam Wash and install erosion protection measures. The monitors helped give the county and the residents the early warning they needed to evacuate the community. The erosion control measures helped protect some homes from being washed away completely, Hendrix said.

Anyone with flood damage or seeking flood information can call (928) 757-0925. Families can also contact the Red Cross at (800) 842-7349.

Anyone wishing to donate to help repair the damage can do so through the AIDMATRIX website at www.aidmatrixnetwork.org/fema/. Select Arizona from the dropdown list or click on the state of Arizona on the map. The next page will give you the choice of donating cash, a product or volunteering your time. If you chose to donate cash, select the Salvation Army's Southwest Divisional headquarters from the list of agencies. This will direct you to their website. In the "details of donations" section insert "Beaver Dam/Littlefield Flood," complete the rest of the fields and submit.

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