Howard County, Md. officials working to provide flood assistance to impacted residents, businesses

- It was one of the most memorable moments captured on video during the severe flooding in Ellicott City – a human chain formed to rescue a woman from her car that was about to be swept away.

The rescue happened on Main Street in front of an art gallery. Jason Barnes, one of the Good Samaritans who took part of this heroic rescue, said, “The water was rushing so hard, it was shutting the door. I didn't know which way to go out and just how to get out and get her to safety.”

While they all ended up being safe, recovering from the devastation their city suffered is what he is now worried about.

“I'm still taking it all in,” Barnes said. “A lot of what I'm really concerned about now is Ellicott City in general. We lost a lot there, but there were so many more people who lost so much more. The guy next to me, his house was being wiped out. The guy who was holding him, he was looking for his friend at the moment. He got washed down about 50 feet. And just after all the destruction, just so many people lost so much.”

Two days after the floods killed two people and left many businesses, homes and vehicles damaged, many came to the Ellicott City Senior Center to get help. At least 500 people showed up to find out information about disaster assistance.

Also, this was a location where residents, business and property owners can come to get help, which include replacing destroyed licenses, license plates and more.

“You can expedite the restoration of vital documents, which might be what you need to go to the next step for recovery,” said Ryan Miller, the director of Howard County’s Office of Emergency Management.

More than a dozen local, state and federal agencies will be in Ellicott City for at least for the next two weeks to provide resources and services for those impacted the most by this historic flooding.

“I've told people that they are going to have to be patient, but we as elected officials will not be patient,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said in a statement on the recovery efforts:

"Ellicott City continues what will be a long recovery from devastating flash flooding that claimed two lives, significantly damaged dozens of businesses and displaced many residents and nearly 200 automobiles.

"I now have signed Executive Order 2016-07 to ask the County Council to reconvene in a special session as soon as practically possible to consider legislation to extend the State of Emergency.  This event will require recovery efforts over a long period of time involving the health, safety, welfare and property of residents in the affected area.  Extending emergency powers will facilitate the recovery and coordination of needed resources.  We are in the process of calling that session with the council members.

"In the meantime, The United Way also has generously agreed to accept the community’s outpourings of monetary support to assist Ellicott City.  You can go to www.uwcm.org/ecstrong to make a donation for the humanitarian relief needed in Ellicott City. The Ellicott City Partnership also established www.helpellicottcity.com for the same purpose. The Community Action Council, which coordinates the Howard County Food Bank, is accepting food donations for displaced residents. This entire effort will mean a great deal to the businesses and residents who are hurting from this tremendous loss.

"Ellicott City and Howard County are strong and we know together we can get through this disaster.

"If you have any questions, please call 410-313-2900."

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