Volunteers say flood cleanup turnout is 'disappointing'


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojounalist CHRIS SHADROCK

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE


Posted on November 8, 2013 at 11:20 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 11:25 PM

AUSTIN -- It's a phrase you'll hear repeated over and over in Southeast Austin: “You just don't really see it, till you see it. You don't understand the devastation."

That’s the reaction from volunteers helping in the Onion Creek neighborhood and Bluff Springs area off East William Cannon Drive.

The damage is everywhere: in homes, in yards and on the streets.

“We're living in a tent right now. We’re using a campfire for heat,” said Debbie Lozano, whose home was ruined by the Halloween flood.

“It's real bad down there. We're not getting any help down that direction,” she told KVUE.

Up the street, fences are covered in debris the water carried up to five feet high and walls are caved in.

Volunteer Donna Vernon said they need more hands to clean up the mess, and she said the response so far has been disappointing.

“It’s just a shame that so many people have to go through this, and not more Austinites are helping out,” said Vernon.

The Austin Disaster Relief Network sent teams of people into homes to help families in the Onion Creek neighborhood.

"We just found a family that has five mentally handicap individuals that were still in their home in wet sheetrock with wet beds,” said director Danny Geraci on Friday.

Geraci said they're doing whatever they can to help these people, but a few hundred volunteers isn't enough.

“I’ll say this, that we need a lot more than that," he said.

There are still hundreds of homes that need sheetrock replaced and debris cleared out.

If you would like to help, you can sign up to work on a home at the Austin Disaster Response Network tent located at the corner of East William Cannon Drive and South Pleasant Valley Road.

Go here for a complete list of other donation and volunteer sites.