Sierra Wave Media

Eastern Sierra News for July 21, 2024





At a community meeting in Independence last week, people who have had their homes flooded out and covered by mud after the storm on July 13th, asked for heavy equipment and manpower to help dig out.

With a governor declared state of emergency for the Oak Creek floods, state resources like Caltrans and the California Conservation Corps have been deployed to help out.

Nancy Masters, who is helping head up flood relief through the Independence Civic Club, but also lives at the now wiped out Bright ranch, says that the Caltrans crews have been phenomenal. Caltrans crews have cut an access road through to the Bright ranch, removing huge boulders and vehicles that had been tumbled like matchbox cars.

As homes are dug out and bits of personal belongings are found where ever the flood deposited them, government agencies are working to add up the total losses in this disaster.

Initial reports indicated that about 20 homes were lost, with some mobile homes that haven’t been found, there is no official number yet.

Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carrunchio reports that the county has done preliminary building assessment. As crews move the mud back, more detailed inspections have left all but one home inspected red tagged for demolition.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that very few, if any, people affected by these floods had flood insurance. Carrunchio reports that county staff has been clear and careful to tie the floods to fires last year, in an effort to possibly help out with the insurance issue.

A report on the number of homes destroyed and whether or not the homeowners had insurance is expected to be done later this week. Carrunchio explained that if over 25 homes or businesses were destroyed and the owners had no insurance, the homeowners could qualify for low interest loans from the Small Business Administration. Without a presidential declaration of emergency, Carrunchio says that these loans might be all the financial help coming from the federal government.

As for local help, the donations keep rolling in. Nancy Masters says that the generosity has been amazing.

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