Leaders to Westlake Residents: Evacuate

Savannah — (WSAV)

Major fears from families who live in Westlake Apartments — many of them lost everything after severe flooding following Hurricane Matthew. It’s a story News 3 followed extensively. Thursday, we returned to the neighborhood and talked to people who are now bracing for the wrath of Irma. Many residents say they’re taking the powerful and deadly storm very seriously, but some say they can’t afford to leave their homes.

They remember the nightmare left behind by Hurricane Matthew. Many of the residents lost all of their belongings because of the massive flooding, and later the mold. Westlake has been prone to major flooding for years. Thursday, we found Public Works crews using their Vac Con Truck to clear out the drainage system in Westlake and all across Chatham County. But, some residents we spoke with don’t believe that will be enough to safeguard them against Irma.

“I just left a person over here that was flooded back in the 70’s. Flooded? In the 70’s! They didn’t clean it up then, they ain’t gonna clean it up now,” says Emmett Walker, a longtime resident of Westlake.

Today, Congressman Buddy Carter addressed the concerns of the residents of Westlake. He said he believes the best plan of action is for residents without transportation to evacuate to the Savannah Civic Center beginning Saturday. His office released the statement below.

“Congressman Carter has been personally engaged in ensuring coordination of federal, state, and local resources for all residents of the First District but especially those at Westlake. Our office has been and remains in touch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, relevant state and local entities, and the property owner of Westlake to discuss the situation and ensure the community and the residents are prepared for the storm as well as what will follow. We have confirmed the county is aware of the residents at Westlake and they’re making Westlake a priority.

As discussed at the county press conference today, right now the best plan of action is for residents without transportation to go to the civic center for evacuation. Beginning at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, buses will begin transporting people from Savannah. If transportation is needed to the civic center, CAT Transit buses will be running on a normal schedule. Residents can also go to the Recreation Center in Pooler from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Saturday to get a ride to the Civic Center. Rep. Carter strongly urges all residents in the First District of Georgia to take this and all advice from local and state officials.

While Rep. Carter and our office have notified appropriate departments and agencies, the federal government cannot act until the state requests and President Trump declares a federal emergency or disaster. We will continue to monitor this situation and be available to assist with any actions needed once there is a declaration, just as we assisted following Hurricane Matthew.”

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