WEATHER

Woodbridge recovers from flood damage to homes

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At first glance, it looks as though parts of Holly Acres Mobile Home Park were hit by a tornado.

"It started raining", recalls Rosa Zerbantes.

"It was very, very bad. In about a half hour, it was gone."

At least sixty-six trailers are severely damaged; metal sides are crumbled like an accordion, windows are blown out; furniture, toys, and garbage are strewn everywhere.

"It's just horrible, the devastation", says Nancy Lyall, with the Woodbridge Workers' Committee, an immigrant support group.

"People put their life savings into some of these trailers, and they have nothing left", she says.

It wasn't a tornado, but flooding that caused all the destruction, leaving an estimated 150 people homeless.

The September 8th storms that ripped through the area has left residents scrambling for a place to live.

Karina Garcia, was among the evacuees attending a fundraiser benefit Sunday to help the displaced get back on their feet.

"Every day the kids- they asking where are we going to be living. We had a stable house and food... but not now", she says.

And now Holly Acres is the focus of a new debate: whether to rebuild.

A Prince William County zoning administrator says it can't be done.
The attorney for owner Henry Ridge has told reporters his client expects to file an appeal of that decision as soon as Monday.

The problem? Federal regulators say rebuilding is not an option in an area that could likely flood again.

"It would be irresponsible for us", says County Government Spokesman Jason Grant.

"It makes sense as a FEMA regulation to say look, in a floodway, we don't want that stuff rebuilt, because you know this type of damage can occur again."

A floodway is a location where water moves through as it floods.

Some residents are living with relatives. Others have been taken in by churches, or have hotel rooms.

The county has allocated over $70,000 dollars to the Red Cross and other agencies- helping the displaced pay deposits or the first months rent on a new home.

But with winter fast approaching, for many-- there is plenty of worry to go around.

"Wintertime is bad for my child, for any child", Zerbantes says.

"Everybody needs help, maybe a small home, you know?"

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