Event Held To Help Hispanic Community With Flood Recovery Efforts

Sunday, June 23rd 2019, 10:31 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

People in Muskogee County are still dealing with what’s left after historic flooding destroyed homes, businesses and communities.

But some minority groups said they were left feeling lost and asking for answers.

The focus of a special event Sunday in Muskogee was to connect the Hispanic community with the right resources to get some answers after losing everything from flooding.

“It’s a huge loss, not only a home, but a childhood place.”

Blanca Macareno got a first look inside her Fort Gibson home in early June, after water nearly up to her roof finally receded and left little in its path.

“It’s sad to see the state now, realizing it won’t be the same," said Macareno.

Macareno said 20 homes close to hers near Highway 62 were also destroyed.

She said people in the Hispanic community weren’t getting clear answers about how to get financial help.

“A lot were very upset because they were getting very bad information, or not the right information," said Yesenia Ochoa, who helped organize the day.

“We were contacted by a representative of the Hispanic community in Muskogee seeking answers," said Tyler Evans, the director of the City of Muskogee Emergency Management.

The focus Sunday at Saint Joseph Catholic Church was bridging that gap.

“Right now, it’s a lot of working collaboratively with agencies such as FEMA and we appreciate them coming," said Macareno.

Federal, state, county and city groups were all on hand to translate and answer questions for nearly 100 people all afternoon-- some even offering emotional support.

“On the other side of all this there is trauma and loss," said Mary Hicks, the care coordinator for Green Country Behavioral Health.

And for Fort Gibson residents, everything from diapers to protein bars are available for free at the resource center in the high school gym.

“There's still a resource center open seven days a week," said Evans.

You just have to bring proof of address to get the items you need.

The resource center is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends until mid-July.

There are other centers across Muskogee County for people who don’t live in Fort Gibson.