Thursday, August 23, 2007

FEMA teams assess flooding; Pawlenty asks for speedy help

I happened to be across the border from Winona and some of the hardest hit small communities in SE Minnesota last weekend when it seemed like the rain would never stop. It was pretty incredible how saturated the whole area became, and how much damage a little water can do.

Governor Pawlenty is seeking quick and efficient relief for the infrastructure damaged by last weekends flooding from the Feds.

On Wednesday, one FEMA team headed to Rushford, a city of about 1,700, ringed by rugged bluffs about 130 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. Water that quickly rose to hip-deep in the streets tore through the city in the wee hours Sunday morning, washing out foundations and forcing people to flee their homes.

City Councilwoman Nancy Benson said she went into her basement to rescue belongings and a wall gave way. A wall of water came rushing at her. She would have died had her husband not pulled her up the stairs in time, she said.

The city's business district was wiped out and about 277 homes had been destroyed. She said the city is "desperate" for federal aid.

"Our community has to be helped or we will die," she said. "We'll end up being a bedroom community." (excerpted from article)

In times of tragedy, it seems like Minnesotans in particular do a very good job of coming together to lend a helping hand.

(click here for entire article).