'It's terrible': Still recovering from Hurricane Hanna, Santa Rosa man seeks help after floods

1 year 10 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, July 13 2021 Jul 13, 2021 July 13, 2021 8:10 AM July 13, 2021 in News - Local

For more than a year, a Santa Rosa man has been seeking help for the strong winds that have destroyed his home, but with no luck.

For three generations, Martin Silva's family has called a Santa Rosa property home. It’s in an area of Cameron County that is known for flooding.

But in 2019, when severe weather hit Santa Rosa, it was the wind that took its toll.

"The winds and all that did destroy my roof,” Silva said. “So, I had a little bit of money I put the roof back."

But with no income due to multiple back surgeries leaving him unable to work, Silva hasn't been able to make repairs after Hurricane Hanna. And last week's rains have ruined what very little he has left.

"I can't even afford to pay nobody to come and help me fix all this,” Silva said. “Especially inside my house. Inside my house is terrible."

All but one portion of the roof is destroyed. With no running water for almost a year, Silva is limited to sleeping, cooking and eating in one room. Silva relies on the very neighbors he helped rescue in previous floods to fill five gallon buckets with water so he can clean up.

Silva reached out to FEMA after Hurricane Hanna, who told him that technically his house is livable.

"They don't put you back where you were,” said Cameron County Asst. Emergency Management Coordinator Rolando Casas. “They just put you back into livable conditions."

This past week’s rain brought floods once again, but this time, there was no emergency declaration from the governor or the president. Casas says the county is taking the usual steps just in case they change their minds.

"We did though in Cameron County, which is why we put that survey out,” Casas said. “Just in case some homes did slip through the cracks that we didn't know about."

The survey aims to help people report damage caused by severe weather. But it also helps the emergency management office prepare.

On Friday, Casas and his co-workers used data from that survey to perform high water rescues and more.

"It gives us a better opportunity to plan for the next event,” Casas said. “And try to find other types of mitigation strategies."

Silva says he'll fill out the survey and hope for the best as he figures out what's next for him this hurricane season.

If you need to report damage from last week’s storms you can visit cameroncounty.us or call the Emergency Management Office at 956-547-7000.

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