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Okaloosa residents begin flood clean up without insurance

Homes around the panhandle were overrun with flood water during the storm.
In Okaloosa County nearly 300 homes were damaged.

Now that the flood waters are drying or being pumped away, those homeowners are beginning to clean and repair their property.
But some are being forced to do so without flood insurance.

With flood waters receding, the difficult task of repairing damage done to homes is underway for many homeowners.

Okaloosa County had nearly 300 homes damaged by floods.
In some areas, entire neighborhoods, like this one near Hurlburt road in Ft. Walton Beach, were underwater.

On Wednesday, residents filled dumpsters with pieces of what used of their homes..

Chris Bradshaw had his home flooded in 2005, and learned how difficult it could be.
"I remember the first couple of days, it was just emotionally numb. It was just 'keep moving.'"
   
He says the cost to repair your home from flood damage can be stunning.
"After we ran the numbers, I think it was near 30,000 of my own money to repair, get the drywall out, get the wet insulation out of the wall."

Bradshaw purchased flood insurance then, and most of his damage now will be covered.
Others without insurance will be paying for repairs out of pocket.

Cheri Pope, says reparing damage has been a difficult experience.
"You're having to buy all the supplies, the base boards and paint and caulk and tools. And I mean, you can't not get it if you want your house back, you got to get it."

A manager at Home Depot says supplies like sheet rock and dehumidifiers have been difficult to keep on the shelf.
They're running programs to help those like Pope who have to make repairs on their own.

But she says she's lost more than just the money spent.
"I've lost a lot of time at work. I have no leave left. So now I'm going to leave without pay."

Pope says the experience has taught her a lesson..
"Wherever I end up, if I'm not living under Brooks Bridge somewhere, I'm going to have flood insurance. I don't care if I'm high and dry. And I recommend everybody else get it."

Government representatives say even if you are waiting for assistance, you should start cleanup and repair efforts now.