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let’s keep Beth Reed in mind

June 2, 2011

Responding to a recent post about the Joplin devastation, a reader named Beth Reed

said her “thoughts and prayers and tears” went out to the victims there and all the

other severe weather victims.  Beth herself lost her home and everything in it when

the Mississippi and White Rivers flooded in Arkansas.


Beth has only her cell phone to communicate with, but she clearly has a great heart

also working for her.  With all her loss, she still finds sympathy for overwhelmed

agencies like the Red Cross, and for rescue workers who have also lost their homes.


She passed along this tip for anyone who might also face this crisis: Have cash and

all important documents in a safe place.  If power goes out, ATM’s won’t work and

you’ll have to pay cash for meals, lodging and such.  FEMA will eventually reim-

burse you; but likely not the full value, and only for a certain amount of time.


Please let’s keep Beth in mind as she and so many others rebuild their lives.  Beth,

please update us when you can.

  1. Beth Reed permalink
    June 3, 2011 6:08 am

    I am back online so my communication is much better. I have not had much time since I am having to try and get everything in order and work on the house.
    A few insights. Floods are handled much differntly than tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes. For us in the flood zone, we knew the water was coming. When and where was the question, and when the water did come, it came in fast.
    I am trying to remember dates, so this may not be perfect, but it is close. To the best of my recollection, I was evacuated on the 10th. I called to register for FEMA on the 13th and was told that my county had not been declared a disaster at that point.
    Still it is good to register early because when we were declared, I did not have to wait in order to start the FEMA process.
    Even then it was slow going because we were first declared 35% and then it moved up to 75% and finally we were eligible for assistance.
    The Red Cross came in, but they did not tell anyone they were here and set up a trailer on the side of the road not far from my house. I was having an inspection with my FEMA Inspector and he actually called me when he was on his way to another appointment to tell me that the Red Cross was setting up.
    When I got there they gave me a Coleman cooler filled with a case of water, 2 ready to eat meals and a pair of gloves. Then I moved to another line and received, a shovel, a gallon of bleach, a box containing a bucket, rubber gloves and sponges along with a quart of bleach, a broom and mop kit.
    I lost all of my food in the power outage and only recieved emergency food stamps yesterday. So it is imperitive to have cash on hand. I was lucky because I am friends with the Mayor and she had a house that I could rent for a month. FEMA paid one months rent for me based on Fair Rental Amounts based for my city. I recieved $447.00 for the rent and it went straight to the owner. I am fortunate that a friend has loaned me their RV to live in after the 10th of June.
    Like I said earlier, floods are handled differently because we knew the water was coming. In cases of Tornados and other disasters it may take longer for help to arrive because it is possible that no one can get in or get out.
    Shelters here were miles away. We did not have an emergency shelter open so it was not possible to go to one. I had no gas or money to drive an hour away only for meals. They were not open for actual shelter.
    After 72 hours mold will start to grow on everything even if you cannot see it, it is there. The only way to kill it is bleach and hot water. So any food that I did have was contaminated and had to be thrown away. It wasn’t much but I thought that if it did not get wet then it would be ok and that is not the case. The pamplets that I was given, which I still have and will scan and post later on said that even canned foods are not safe after that point.
    This has been very hard. My house had to be gutted because the water got between the exterior walls and subfloors. Mold grew fast. River water left sludge over and inch thick in my house and of course my yard was completely destroyed. I took pictures and still cannot believe the water got that high.
    My email address is I would love to talk to anyone who has questions and maybe I can help with answers.
    Thank you so much Allen for your help in getting the word out. I promise to update as soon as I can and if you would like I can email you some pictures that you could post.
    The Department of Wildlife and the National Guard and Army, as well as Corps of Engineering were great voices of advice and kept us advised as best as they could. They did not sugar coat it. They told me that my house was going to be in the direct line of flood water and to get what I could out.
    The problem in my case was that I had no place to move my possessions to in the time that they told us to evacuate. By that time, those lower in the flood area had already been told. There were no storage buildings vacant, there were no boxes to pack up your things. I put as much as I could up high in the closets and hoped that the water did not reach that high. I was lucky, some down from me were not. Water covered their rooftops.
    We were not in the actual flood zone so we did not have to have flood insurance where we were, and that was a costly mistake. If you live close to a river, (I am 10 miles) seek flood insurance. The flood did not reach up to my town, so that helped, but only because the levees held. One leaked I heard and they did what they could to repair it. Our town was extremely lucky this time.
    Ok well I know this post is terribly long, but I will post when I can and email me and I will try and get as much information for you as I can.
    I cannot stress enough on being prepared for a disaster. Contact your Local Emergency Management Agencies, ask about evacuation routes, what shelters will be open, what can you expect from your city as far as food and supplies and shelter. Find out where the Red Cross will open. Knowlege is your friend.
    Keep a suitcase packed with a couple of changes of clothes, a first aid kit, flash light, battery operated radio, and some kind of non perishable foods.
    Other things to remember if possible and not everyone can do these things because disasters strike in different forms, but medicines are important. Keep a list of all medicines you are taking inside your suitcase, because you may not remember everything you need when the time comes.
    Believe me, you will not be thinking as clearly as you think that you will.
    I know there is more, but I have to go for now. Take care. Beth

    • June 3, 2011 10:24 am

      Beth, it’s so good to read that you’re safe and starting to get your life closer to normal. I’m going to post that you’re okay and refer other readers to your comments here. And, yes, I would be honoured to post photos that you send. Take some deep breaths and take care.

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