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Group seeks help for people whose homes were damaged by flooding near Gainesville's Atlanta Highway
Eulalia Alonzo, 38, stands with three of her children in front of her home in the Suburban Mobile Home Park neighborhood on Oct. 13, 2020. Days earlier, heavy rains from Hurricane Delta flooded the street she lives on. Her children, from left, are Maneor Alonzo, 6; Lupita Alonzo, 4; and Maria Noemi Alonzo, 7. - photo by Thomas Hartwell

As county agencies continue to survey the damage from weekend storms, residents in areas hit hard by the heavy rains told their stories Tuesday, Oct. 13, of the flooding that surrounded their homes. 

Hall County Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Ramsey said roughly 30 homes in Hall County were damaged in the weekend storms, with most of those occurring in the McConnell Drive area of Gainesville. 

Vanesa Sarazua, executive director of Hispanic Alliance-GA, said she has heard from the community about mobile home parks in three areas dealing with damage. The three locations were on Highland Terrace, McConnell Drive and Cander Road. 

“There’s about 80 families affected from those trailer parks, and we concentrate mostly on those because those are the ones that are most vulnerable and impoverished already,” Sarazua said, as the group has donated food to families affected by the flooding. 

Some areas of Suburban Mobile Home Park were among the worst hit areas for flooding in the county after heavy rains associated with Hurricane Delta over the weekend of Oct. 10 and 11, 2020. - photo by Thomas Hartwell

Ramsey said the Highland Terrace and McConnell Drive areas have had a few high-water events in the past few years. 

“Just through ongoing maintenance of that stormwater area, it typically does fairly well,” Ramsey said. “But in this situation, there was just too much rain in the course of a small period of time to adequately handle that.” 

Tony Bradley said a friend’s son came knocking on doors around 1 a.m. Sunday to warn people about flooding in the mobile home park on Highland Terrace. Jaylen, Bradley’s 6-year-old son, said they saw the water covering the grass and their bikes outside. 

The family waited for roughly five hours for the water to recede, which at times was waist high. 

“In my particular driveway when it rains heavy, this always stays flooded,” Bradley said. 

One of Bradley’s neighbors had a similar story of what occurred early Sunday morning.  

Eulalia Alonzo, a mother of four, said she woke up to the sound of the heavy rain but did not realize the severity of the flooding until firefighters came to her door. She woke up her two daughters and two sons to evacuate the house. 

“(The firefighters) said if the rain doesn’t pass then they would find (a) site for us to stay, but since it passed at around 6 in the morning, they sent us back,” Alonzo said. 

Once they were sent back, Alonzo said they received no further help from public safety agencies. 

“No one has told me anything,” Alonzo said. “If there is someone that can give help, I’d accept it. How could I not?” 

The floor of Alonzo’s home got wet from the flooding, but there was no significant damage, Alonzo said. There was also a leak from the rain that dampened one small room of the house, she said. 

Alonzo’s 20-year-old son, Mario Jose Alonzo, said their car sustained some damage due to the flooding but they were able to fix it the day after. 

Sarazua said she has seen photos of mattresses damaged in the storm, so the agency is looking for people who can donate replacements. 

“I think that is one of the greatest needs that they have is kind of replacing the little that they had,” she said. “If you tour around some of those areas, you’ll see the piles of furniture to the curb and those piles of mattresses that are just so dirty and muddy. The water that came in was just horrible.” 

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Intern Daniela Carrasco contributed to this report and served as translator.