Many displaced residents still calling shelters "home"

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - "We are the first people that got flooded out of their house and more than likely the last people that will be able to go back to their house," said Sonija Curley.

Sonija Curley has been at the Red Cross shelter in Walnut Ridge almost a week.

"If this is rock bottom, the only place we can go from here is up," said Curley.

Curley says she is frustrated she can't get back home, anxious to see how much damage was done, and losing sleep over what the future holds.

"I'm always going to be concerned. Okay, is this going to be the one that does it? Are we going to get flooded out again? How long are we going to be homeless?", asked Curley.

Brian and Dana Smith packed precious pictures before they left last week and say it's unclear when they can return to their Clay County home.

"The word stuck kind of explains it all," said Smith.

Brian and Dana Smith, like many others, are now faced with a daunting task of possibly having to start over.

"Not having the money to just jump back in and rebuild is probably the most frustrating thing," said Smith.

Despite all this despair, many say this shelter is a blessing...

"If there's a bad situation, we're going to do the best we can and make the best out of it," said Dana Smith.

At this shelter, they're all going through this bad situation together, strangers most of them a week ago, now a sort of family coming together.

"If it weren't for having this place open as a shelter I honestly do not know what would have happened," said Curley.

Travis Cooper with the American Red Cross says they do have teams out right now assessing the damage and flooding.  That process is part of determining how long they will continue to operate shelters across the area. He also says if you have flooding damage, you can request clean up and comfort kits. He says if you do have damage, go to a local shelter and at least report the damage you do have.  Finally, he adds they're expecting to have people at the shelters for at least a week or so.

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