Nearly four weeks after the “once in a hundred years” flash flood that swept through Cache Creek on May 23, the worst-affected residents are still living in motel rooms.
Charlene Milward is one of them. Although the Red Cross will help her cover the temporary accommodations, it’s not home.
Milward’s house on Stage Rd. was featured in several newscasts and videos right after the flood, being one of the most dramatic examples of flood damage. Sitting on the corner of Stage and Stanley Park Dr., next to the scenic Lopez Creek, the 3,300 square foot building was knocked off its foundations by the force of the water from the creek.
Normally dry, a culvert under Stage Rd. next to Milward’s house, would have diverted the creek’s runoff to a channel where it would meet up with the Cache Creek below. Instead, rain water raced down Lopez Creek, bringing debris of dead vegetation with it, enough to block the culvert, causing the enornous amount of water to pool next to her house before it overflowed onto the road, her property and that of her neighbours’, wash out the curbs and street lights on the other side of the street, and head down Stage Rd. as well as cutting through the Roman Cacholic Retreat across the street and down to the cache creek where it damaged more property.
Milward is hoping to rebuild her home in the same place, but first she needs to know that the money will be in place to help her.
She says she can access money for the demolition once that’s been done, but she hasn’t been able to determine when she can start. She says she’d like to get it done before the funds and assistance dry up.
As of June 11, she hadn’t heard whether her application for Disaster Financial Assistance had been accepted, or for how much. However, she said, it was a large and detailed application.
Her fully furnished and carpeted basement was full of water and mud. The mud remains, incasing nearly 160 bottles of her home made wine – which she’ll be retrieving before the house is demolished.
Three weeks later, she’s still busy with dealing with agencies, accomodations and the rest. Anxiety levels are still high.
“It’s all a big pain in the ass but it’s what you’ve got to do.”