Numerous cars lined Main Street in Kooskia on Tuesday as approximately 100 residents affected by last week’s flood lined up around City Hall to hopefully find some help for their individual situations.
Multi-faceted stations were set up around the room to aid flood victims with everything from testing and evaluating wells and septic systems, debris clean up, home restoration, agriculture-related damage assistance, and other immediate needs.
Facilitating the event was MARC (Multi-Agency Resource Center) whose representatives were available for several hours on Tuesday, assisting each attendee with information on which resources were available and who to speak with.
“We had no idea how many people to expect at the event,” said Elizabeth Duncan, PIO at the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. “Jerry Zumalt knew it would be critically important to vigorously promote and publicize the event. He knew how important it was to make sure as many people knew about this as possible. And he worked to make that happen.” Zumalt works as Idaho County Disaster Services manager.
“The remarkable thing about Jerry, the thing that everybody appreciates so much, is that he does more than check the boxes. He really cares about the community and his concern can be seen in everything he does,” added Duncan.
Other representatives on hand were:
· American Red Cross
· Salvation Army
· North Central Public Health District
· Natural Resources Conservation Service & Farm Agency
· Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR)
· Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
The meeting allowed families, farm and business owners, and individuals to ask subject matter experts questions on a variety of issues.
Along with the governmental and non-profit agencies on hand, Palouse Paws Therapy Dogs, an organization based in Moscow, had a therapy dog available for assisting individuals who were struggling with anxiety and stress.
Teams were also dispatched through Idaho County that traveled throughout the flood-affected areas of the county collecting data from people whose homes and property were affected by the flooding. The data collected by the Needs Assessment Teams provides a broad awareness of what needs exist, allows officials to prioritize those needs, and informs recovery efforts.
In the meantime, flood damaged residents were able to receive immediate assistance as well as answers to their questions about which agency would best serve their needs and how to start the ball rolling on getting their issues resolved more quickly.