By Matthew Hamill
Assistant News Director
Wednesday morning meant another update on rescue efforts and the devastation caused by the Memorial weekend floods. Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Bell somberly addressed the press from the San Marcos Police Department.
“We are still in search and rescue mode. We are still looking for viable victims,” Bell said.
The search is especially thorough in Wimberley, where the heart of the devastation took place. Frequent rainfall isn’t making it easy.
“Every time it rains that poses a problem for our guys on the ground out there, in Wimberley especially,” Bell said.
There are currently hundreds of volunteers through state assets combing the banks of the Blanco and San Marcos rivers. Bell believes we are in a transitional stage in search and rescue operations, as today and tomorrow private assets and volunteer forces join the recovery effort.
Bell also stated that Hays County is not looking for volunteers or search parties because there are teams and organizations who specialize in search and rescue operations.
“… We’re not looking for volunteers for that purpose. We have volunteer search groups and teams that are organized for that purpose,” said Bell.
Bell said Texas Task Force One consists of the best people in the world to use for this operation.
There are two volunteer centers available for those who wish to join organized relief efforts. The center in Wimberley is the Cypress Creek Church located at 211 Stillwater, Wimberley, TX. The center in San Marcos is the Old Fish Hatchery at 206 CM Allen Parkway, San Marcos, TX.
Bell said as the weekend gets closer, volunteers will be in a better position to facilitate people and get them the resources they need, adding ,”these volunteers centers are integral to making this happen.”
For the safety of the volunteers and search parties, Bell insisted that any volunteers check into the Volunteer Resource Center. The VRC will keep track of volunteers and search parties to monitor their progress and their safety.
The current search grid is an area where the river flowed before the floods and how the river is flowing after the flood. As time progresses Bell said the search grid will expand further.
Damage assessments are still in progress. In San Marcos there are 744 homes that have been impacted either severely or in some way.
“I know Wimberley has multiple homes down to the foundation. It’s a pretty devastating scenario,” said Bell.
With a disaster, comes donations from around the state and even the country. Hays County is no different.
“As you can imagine, there are people all over the United States sending assets…which is wonderful. We appreciate that. Unfortunately, it’s hard to manage because we don’t know you’re coming,” said Bell regarding donations.
Bell said anyone looking to donate a large amount of supplies, clothes or food should contact the City of San Marcos to coordinate and allocate these valuable donations.
For the most up to date information you can visit http://haysinformed.com/