PERRY COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Damage totals in Perry County from last week's heavy rains are around the 200 mark, and they are expected to rise even more once the water recedes.
According to Perry County Emergency Management Director Gerry Burns, rough estimates show roughly 200 homes damaged by flooding, with the hardest hit areas around the Leaf River.
"The damage assessment is the primary role right now, to get around on the dryer areas where the water has recessed and get in to these houses and get them populated on the MEMA (Mississippi Emergency Management Agency) site so FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) can come in and know exactly where we are at and what we are looking at," Perry County EMA Director Gerry Burns said.
Between 1 and 4 inches of rain fell in Perry County last week, but the double digit rainfall totals further north overwhelmed the Leaf River, causing extensive flooding, making places in the county still inaccessible.
"We have a lot of river camps we have to do, and unfortunately we have to wait a little longer for the river to drop, we've only seen a 3 foot drop since we crested, (at 31.25 ft) but as soon as that does, we've got teams that are going to be on four wheelers that are going to go in there and get those damage assessments done, and that's where the bulk of numbers in Perry county are going to be at, on these river camps," Burns said.
Emergency responders are still working around the clock to be sure the residents are taken care of in the hardest hit areas.
"We have units out patrolling the areas that are still flooded, we are keeping check on people who need supplies or food and we are working to respond and be accessible anytime we are needed in the county," Perry County Sheriff Mitch Nobles said.
Emergency officials are asking the public for a little help when folks are about to return to their homes, especially along the river.
"If you are on one of these camps, and you do return to your home, we'd like for you to either paint or use a magic marker and write your address on the building so we can get that address in with GPS coordinates and that will help us when we do the damage assessment, and it will also help FEMA to identify the correct location," Burns said.
This week the county is using Perry Central as a shelter, but that could change next week when school is back in session.
"The shelter situation is something we are going to have to just wait and see, it will all depend on where the water is and the amount of people we have displaced that are needing a place to stay," Burns said. "We encourage anyone that is displaced to contact the emergency management office and be sure we are notified about the situation."