Group set up for long-term flood recovery in Duluth-SuperiorSix months ago, the Duluth-Superior area was hit with a once-in-a-century flood, causing more than $25 million in damage to Douglas County alone.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Six months ago, the Duluth-Superior area was hit with a once-in-a-century flood, causing more than $25 million in damage to Douglas County alone.
But even though the outward damage is repaired, a few hundred people are still trying to repair their homes.
Most people have moved on, but Patricia Nelson and Fr. Leon Flaherty know there are 300 flood-damaged homes in Douglas County. Many of those families still need help with things like furnaces and hot water heaters.
"A lot of people's freezers were in the basement or in family rooms downstairs. If it was a split-level, all the furniture, the beds are basically gone," says Flaherty.
"A lot of washers and driers, a lot of utility room stuff,” says Nelson.
Nelson and Flaherty are part of the Douglas County Long-Term Recovery Committee. That’s made up of non-profit groups that include shelters, food shelves, senior citizens agencies and religious service organizations. Its mission is to help people who have exhausted all other avenues for help, a group that they say is largely invisible unless they come forward.
Nelson says there’s an urgency to get people ready for winter.
"A lot of people who had stuff stored in their basements lost their winter outerwear," says Nelson.
"So initially we were buying boots and jackets for kids." Flaherty says "That's where thing like St. Vincent DePaul come in because they have a lot of that already on hand so we send people there rather than to Target or K-Mart or something like that.”
In all, the June 20 flood damaged 1,900 homes in the Duluth-Superior area, destroying 72. Long-term recovery teams are also working in Minnesota. Nelson and Flaherty expect all of these committees will be meeting for another two years before they’ve completed their mission.