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'It's like cutting out my heart': FEMA assists flood survivors in Ferguson

The federal agency has already provided more than $1.2 million in grants to individuals impacted.

FERGUSON, Mo. — Federal disaster crews are spread out across the St. Louis area, working every day to get flood victims the help they need. 

Crews have been working with local officials in the state, doing damage assessments, for weeks now. 

Disaster Survivor Assistance crews have been all over from Hazelwood to Florissant to St. Ann.

One crew was in Ferguson on Saturday, Aug. 13, trying to help flood victims in neighborhoods. 

One of those victims was Frederick Tussey.

Just looking to the left of his home, all you saw was crate after crate stacked on top of one another. 

For Tussey, these crates full of vinyl are more just something to listen to.

"I've been collecting records for over 40 years," he said.

Tussey said it's his passion and his love.

"There's all kinds of stuff in here from jazz to the 20's," he said while looking through his records. 

In just one morning though, almost all of it was taken away from Tussey.

"This is my life's work, and so it's like cutting out my heart," he said.

About three feet of water filled Tussey's basement. It destroyed more than 40 thousand of what he called his 'little time machines.'

"It just kills me to lose all these records, because that's all I do, is collect records and listen to them and study them," he said.

Pieces of flooring and furniture fill dumpsters in one Ferguson apartment complex. All of those items resembling things people will never be able to get back. All they have left is the memories with them.

That is why FEMA is in the area, and all across St. Louis, trying to help everyone directly impacted by the flood, according to External Affairs Officer John Mills.

"We've seen people whose lives have been turned upside down by this, we see people going through a really tough time in their lives, and we're trying to help as many people as we can, as quickly as possible," he said.

Mills said the federal agency has already provided more than $1.2 million in grants to individuals impacted. 

He said as more damage inspections take place, more money is approved daily.

According to Mills, for those people who had to move out of their homes because the damage was so bad, FEMA can provide rental assistance to help you find a place to live temporarily.

"We're working with every household on a case-by-case basis. Everyone went through the flooding together, but everyone's exact situation is unique," he said.

Unfortunately for Tussey though, his lost items are irreplaceable. 

"Money is one thing, but the records themselves are worth more than any money, and that's a shame," he said.

FEMA will be deploying more people to the area to help victims. 

Mill said the agency is hoping to open more disaster recovery centers in the coming days.

You can still apply online to see if you qualify for FEMA assistance by visiting this website or calling 800-621-3362.

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