Pelham declares state of emergency as residents continue flood cleanup efforts

Local News

PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) –The City of Pelham has declared a state of emergency to get more assistance from the state. This comes as cleanup efforts continue from last week’s historic floods.

The Chandalar South Townhomes saw saw some of the worst of the flooding.

“Anything I had left from the flood in May is pretty much gone,” Rachel Landers said.

She and her neighbors had just finished cleaning up from the last flood in May, but this time is much worse.

“Water started coming in from the front of my house and the back of my house and then it just continually flooded and flooded and flooded,” Landers said. “Then it got to four feet and then it finally stopped.”

Her lower level is practically gutted out now – to the point that she can see her neighbors next door, but she said she’s in good shape compared to her neighbors.

“I was lucky that I was able to get my home taken care of,” Landers said. “There’s a lot of people on my street that do not have flood insurance and are still in need of assistance.”

This is where Elsbeth Kirk steps in. She, too, was significantly impacted by Wednesday’s flooding, but she opened her home for neighbors to help them get the help they need and a hot meal.

“It doesn’t get easier, but we’re just getting through it,” Kirk said. “They just basically come here, and we help support them any way we can whether it’s ripping out and gutting or cleaning out and getting furniture out. Whatever needs to be done they know they’ve got a place to go this time and ask for help.”

At an emergency meeting Tuesday, the city came together as a united group with the Shelby County EMA urging residents to report any flood damage to their homes or properties.

“We need to make sure we’ve got your information captured if you have still got unmet needs please call United Way of Central Alabama at 211,” Shelby County EMA Director – said. “Give them your information so we can know that you have those unmet needs, and we can make sure we get someone out there to help you as soon as possible.”

Even the City of Alabaster has been helping with cleanup efforts, lending trucks to help pick up debris from people’s homes. Pelham continues to assess damage.

“Pelham is always looking to improve our infrastructure and if you look at some of the places in Pelham that did not flood that historically have flooded, we have some successes in that respect,” Mayor Gary Waters said. “There’s not a storm system infrastructure anywhere that can handle 20 inches of rain in 18 hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

But there is still a very long way to go for these residents.

“You’re living in your home but you’re not living in a place that feels like home,” Landers said.

Plenty of donations have come into the Chandalar South Townhome community, but it is asking for things like fans, folding tables and chairs and ice to keep food cool so they can keep helping to feed these folks – then eventually start the rebuilding phase.

The city wants you to report any damage to your property so it can be properly documented. You can do that by sending an email to shelbyema@shelbyal.com.

Pelham is still working to determine a total cost of damage. It did vote Tuesday to set aside $500,000 for city operations and to allow the police chief to enact a curfew if needed before council reconvenes.

The city is also waving building permit fees to help folks start rebuilding as quickly as possible.

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