Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rushford Flood affects all of us in some way

Rushford Minnesota flood last August 22, 2007. Four days after the flood residents were still coping with extreme conditions following the flood no water, no sewer, no phones, no power. The water is undrinkable they are not sure if it's entirely free flood contaminates. The state Health Department says people shouldn't even use it to wash. FEMA teams were sent out to examine the need for individual assistance such as for homeowners, renters, and small business owners as well as public assistance such as for roads, government properties and overtime pay for emergency workers. "A preliminary windshield survey by the American Red Cross identified about 4,200 homes affected by the flood, including 256 complete losses,338 with major damage and 475 that are still inaccessible," said Kris Eide to KTTC , the state's director of homeland security and emergency management. The problem is, no one knows when the disaster declaration will be made and when the federal help will arrive.
The crisp chill in the air has some people anticipating the next season to come. But for some residents in Rushford, it's only a reminder of what needs to be done after the floods not only took away their foundations but their utilities as well. In the race against winter, construction crews in Rushford appear to be taking the lead. Construction worker says, "could be going on 24/7 if I had enough strength." Homes are being patched up at a steady rate, but just just by looking at the never ending pieces of paper where residents have signed up to get their heat back you know the race against winter and heat has just started. Kaye Bernard with Tri-County Electric, "We encourage people to call us and ask about those programs and we'll direct them to either SEMCAC or the local energy assistance agencies through the country". The residents say local businesses have been great about getting out in the neighborhoods to rebuild and restore utilities. One resident says his rebuilding process is going smoothly. Joe O'Hara says "No hassle what so ever," Joe O'Hara and his wife Kathy live in a FEMA mobile home while their house is being re-built, but they still pay utilities. The payments haven't hurt their pocket books, but know some people are less fortunate. O'Hara says, "I'm a lot better off than most people." Joe says it's starting to feel like Minnesota weather, so make sure you find a way to get the heat before the race between winter crosses the finish line.

I asked my dad how he felt when he herd about the flood in Rushford and he said he was scared for his sister Cindy and her two kids and he was also scared for Joe and Kathy O'Hara because dad and Kathy are cousins but he said the worst part was not knowing if they were OK and not hearing from them until a week later. I persinaly was scared because my aunt lives only one block away from the river.

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