D'HANIS, Texas – D’Hanis residents are hoping for federal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as they continue to pick up the destruction left behind by Wednesday’s severe weather.
Suzanne Koch, an area resident, said she witnessed the tornado that touched down in the area first-hand.
“The devastation has never been this bad before,” Koch said. “My dad was watching the map for a couple of hours. I then noticed Adam Caskey said to take cover if you lived in D’hanis. We went to the hallway and we shut the doors behind us and that is when I heard all the windows shattering and I started feeling the wind inside the house.”
She said she is thankful to be alive, but is devastated by the aftermath.
“I would say $10,000 to $20,000 in damage,” Koch said. “The roof alone will cost $20,000.”
Kay Markle, another resident, said she is hopeful for federal assistance, but skeptical of the end result.
“It is the dollar amount,” Markle said. “We don’t come anywhere near the millions of dollars that are required for FEMA to come in. There may be some state money they are working on it. It is highly doubtful.”
Markle is also the president of the board of directors for the Lone Star Corral RV Co-op which has a community of residents who are 55 years old or older. She, like her neighbors, experienced significant damage during the storm.
“It is frustrating because people live in these and suddenly, they can’t live in these. I would appeal to anyone who could get us some help with funding on some of this stuff,” Markle said. “We are all retired people and don’t have an income and many of us are living on social security. Any help we can get from any source would help.”
She said she is beyond thankful for the volunteers who have visited the city with clean-up and supply efforts and encourages her fellow neighbors to take things one day at a time.
“It is a scary thing we been through and we are waiting for things to calm down,” Markle said. “I always say one day at a time. One task at a time. Just do what you can today. Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself.
A spokesperson for the Texas Congressman Tony Gonzalez said they are waiting to see if the state will allow FEMA to step in or not with federal assistance for the area.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management released the following statement to KSAT regarding its efforts with federal partners in the area:
“The Texas Division of Emergency Management had team members on the ground at the request of local officials immediately following the severe weather in Medina County, and we continue working with the Red Cross to conduct damage assessments to help us determine whether the damages meet federal requirements for disaster assistance.
“To be eligible for Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance we need roughly 25 homes with major damage, or are destroyed, and are uninsured before we qualify for SBA Disaster Assistance. In order to meet FEMA requirements we need roughly 800 homes with major damage, or are destroyed, and are uninsured before we qualify for their disaster assistance.
“Anyone whose home or property received damage from the April 28-29 severe weather event should help us identify and quantify the damages by filling out our online reporting tool called the “Individual Assistance – State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT)” found at: https://damage.tdem.texas.gov/
“The information we collect through the iSTAT will help us determine whether we have met the federal requirements for disaster assistance, and if so, will be used to make our case to FEMA/SBA.”