Some pretty powerful storms moved through East Texas last Friday and left quite a bit of damage and destruction in its wake. The citizens of Palestine are banding together and forming clean up brigades to assist their friends, family and neighbors with the clean up process (something that could take a while). The City of Palestine along with several business are supporting local volunteers and agencies to help these families recover from the dangerous flash flood that hit parts of the city on April 30th.

The city has issued the following press release in regards to the clean up effort, hard hit areas of Palestine, assistance for flood victims, where to drop off and make donations to help those affected by the flood and other important closure details.

Relief efforts continue in City of Palestine
PALESTINE, Texas (May 2, 2016) – The City of Palestine is supporting local volunteers and agencies in relief efforts following dangerous flash flooding on April 30.

Currently, the city of Palestine is assessing the damage caused by the massive flash flooding throughout the city. According to the National Weather Service, the city received 7.78 inches of rain in a 45-minute time span. The deluge of water overwhelmed the city’s stormwater sewer system and caused massive flash flooding in the city.

Residents are asked to contact the City of Palestine at 903-731-8415 to report storm damage including their homes and businesses. Scott Parkhurst, Emergency Management Coordinator, said the reporting of damage is for the city to potentially receive state and/or federal disaster funding.

Volunteers are helping residents clean up their belongings after the flash flooding, especially on Timber Drive, where the worst of the flooding occurred. Progressive Waste Disposal is providing dumpsters for use, and the City of Palestine will open the city’s compost site, on Highway 19/287, for the flooding debris. That debris will then be taken to a qualified landfill for disposal.

The flooding caused the deaths of six residents. Five residents were killed in rushing floodwaters on Timber Drive around12:15 a.m. Autopsies were concluded on Lenda Asberry and her four great-grandchildren in Tyler, Texas on Monday. Autopsy results are not available due to standard blood tests. The bodies of the residents were taken to a Dallas-area funeral home. Several individuals have raised funds towards funeral expenses.

The investigation into the death of Giovanni Oliva, 30, Palestine, is being handled by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Donors are also raising funds for the family.

According to the Red Cross, 22 homes sustained major flood damage, and 18 homes took minor damage. Approximately 50 residents are displaced and are staying at local hotels funded by the Untied Way of East Texas through Thursday.

Hope Station in Palestine is gathering donations of supplies, including food, clothing, cleaning supplies, linens, personal toiletries and other items at its location, 919 S. Magnolia St.

People and agencies wishing to make donations can donate at Hope Station, or at a drop-off point manned by City of Palestine employees and volunteers at the intersection of North Variah and West Reagan streets, across the street from Cartmel Home for the Aged. The drop-off point will be manned from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until further notice.

The United Way of East Texas has opened donation accounts at Citizens National Bank for flooding relief. Monetary donations may be made at the Palestine Citizens National Bank branch at 207 W. Spring St.

Areas of Reagan Park are also closed due to the flooding. The park’s playground and bridge areas were damaged in the flood, and will be closed for at least a week. Parks and Recreation Director Roy Crouch said the ground near the playground has to be firm enough for delivery semis.