“It only took about 20 minutes for the water to go from the edge of the property to inside my house,” says Jim Vejar who lives in south Savannah.”It only took about 20 minutes for the water to go from the edge of the property to inside my house,” says Jim Vejar who lives in south Savannah.
For years, the Forrest River seemed no threat to him or his neighbors. “In Hurricane Matthew, the water came up to the edge of my grass there,” he says as he points toward the back of his home which is located at the river’s edge.
But Vejar says Irma change everything for not only him but his neighbors. “This is the first time we’ve had flooding,” he said. “What happened is the wind brought all water back up in here (the neighborhood) and everybody took it.”
Inside his homes are signs of a clean up, including disinfectant and mops. Some of the lower wall has already been replaced in the past three weeks. “The water came up at least a foot and a half,” Vejar says.
A Vietnam veteran, he says much of his war mementos were lost along with things like his record albums. He’s adding up the dollar damage but says some things are more important than money. “By the time I get through it will be close to ten thousand dollars,” he tells me.. “I lost a freezer and lost all the food in two freezers, food and refrigerator and of course all my war memorabilia so there’s no past for me now, it’s just from Irma on. But anyway that’s all stuff you can’t replace.”
He has already reached out for help. “A FEMA lady came here and I explained to her what the situation was,” says Vejar.
But at this point it’s not clear if the flood insurance he has paid for will pay out now. Vejar says there is a dispute with FEMA (which administers the flood insurance program) regarding the definition of his lower level room. He says he will fight the initial assessment that says flood insurance may not be applicable in his situation.
“My concern is how much is this going to end up costing me, it’s already cost a lot memory wise,” he said.