The assessment is still ongoing, but Nassau County Emergency Management believes Irma has caused more than $9 million in damage- and the vast majority of that is on private citizens.
Nassau County Emergency Manager Billy Estep tells WOKV this preliminary assessment does not include all parts of the county, because some are still experiencing flooding and cannot be accessed. At this stage, 132 structures are included in the assessment- ten had light damage, 92 needed minor repairs, and 30 had damage to greater than 50% of the structure.
“There is a small portion of it that reflects some structural damage to County facilities, but the dominant- probably more than 98% of this total- is strictly private structural damage to the citizens,” says Emergency Management Director Billy Estep.
He says the assessment will still have to be verified by their Property Appraiser, the Red Cross, and FEMA. FEMA has determined Nassau County residents are eligible for individual assistance because of Irma, so Estep says their goal in the coming days and weeks is to make sure they can connect residents with those resources- including FEMA, non-profits, faith-based organizations, and others.
Not only is the damage assessment still underway, but Estep says they haven’t yet started considering the cost of their response to the storm, which will include lengthy debris collection operations. Those collections are now underway in Nassau County, but are expected to last several weeks.
“We do expect this number [the storm cost] to go up,” Estep says.
Estep believes the flooding has now crested, although it will still take time to recede. He says the Emergency Management team was able to get in a position where they were comfortable enough that the situation here had stabilized, that they actually sent personnel to the South to work in the Monroe County EOC.
“We feel that this is vital, not just from the standpoint of us being able to help our brothers and sisters who we’ve obviously worked with for many years, and also help the citizens of Monroe County, but there is a tremendous amount of lessons learned in these types of deployments that we can now bring back home and be able to be better prepared locally. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone,” Estep says.
If you have any lingering questions or need assistance in the aftermath of the storm, you’re asked to call the EOC hotline at 904-548-0900. Estep says they will work to address your needs, whether that be locally or through national resources.
You can also file a claim directly with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 or visiting DisasterAssistance.gov.