FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency started assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew across parts of Central Florida, state officials said on Wednesday.
According to a news release from the State Emergency Response Team, the FEMA crews hit the ground Tuesday to pinpoint damage caused by the storm in Nassau, Duval, St. Johns and Flagler counties.
The mission was to help identify areas where Preliminary Damage Assessment teams will be needed. Their goal is to further document the extent of hurricane damage.
Officials said that while the teams are here they will inspect and document damage, but they won't be visiting every home or business.
"FEMA is working with local communities in the state to get a close look," said FEMA spokesperson John Mills. "We want to know what their unmet needs are, what are their losses are and what are their continuing needs."
Mills said residents and businesses don't have to wait to find out if federal assistance is available to begin cleanup. The agency recommends keeping repair receipts and to document damage caused by the storm.
"Part of the damage assessment is to see if individual assistance may be available for homeowners or renters for disaster related needs not covered by insurance," Mills said.
Millions in damages
Hurricane Matthew has caused at least $73 million in damages in Flagler County, authorities said.
Officials said 11 homes in the county were destroyed during the storm and more than 150 suffered major damage.
The damage to State Road A1A is expected to cost another $35 million to repair.
Counties, like Flagler that prepared ahead of the storm and are now dealing with massive cleanup could get reimbursed for some of those costs, according to FEMA.
"FEMA will reimburse local and state government for emergency protective measures and debris or other costs," said Mills. "Like whether they blocked off the road or public works worked overtime, things like that, and that's what's part of the Federal Disaster Declaration."
Assistance center in Flagler
Flagler County residents who were affected by the storm can get some help starting Wednesday. The county opened a new assistance center at the Palm Coast Library.
Multiple agencies, including the United Way and the Salvation Army, will give out information and provide resources.
Many residents have already started to rebuild on their own. Neighbors set up a GoFundMe recovery fundraiser for the Surfside Estates neighborhood, one of the hardest hit areas in Flagler.
"It's terrible and this is all damaged here it's just hard to deal with," said Richard Smith, helping his rebuild his brother's home in Surfside Estates."I'm glad they are here in Surfside Estates and whatever they can do to help out here please do because it's pretty devastating."
The assistance center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, Flagler Beach has officially ended its nightly curfew, the last one still in place in Central Florida after Hurricane Matthew.
A total of 6,970 residents in Volusia County remain without power Wednesday morning.
Seminole County still has 960 people in the dark, with another 650 in Flagler County and 20 in Brevard County.