Minn. disaster teams respond in far north and south
Salvation Army disaster crews are serving in the extreme northern and southern portions of Minnesota. In the north, residents of International Falls and greater Koochiching County are preparing for flooding. In the south, flooding in several southwestern counties and residents of Albert Lea and surrounding communities are dealing with the aftermath of wind damage, power outages and flooding.
Here’s a closer look at what The Salvation Army is doing to help.
The Salvation Army is serving food and water to volunteer sandbaggers and relief workers in northern Minnesota as Koochiching County communities prepare for flooding (see photos). The governor ordered 100 National Guard members to the area to help in the sandbagging efforts. Sandbagging efforts were moved from Ranier City Beach to Kerry Park on Thursday morning due to flooding of the beach.
County officials suspect Rainy Lake will rise at least another foot in the next day, and if it does, hundreds of homes could be affected. Envoy Beverly Mayfield, leader of the International Falls Salvation Army, has been serving with Salvation Army staff and volunteers since Friday (read more). As of Wednesday 1,200 meals have been served along with more than 2,000 snacks and beverages.
“We are providing fuel for the community – three meals a day and all of the snacks and fluids they need to keep going,” she said.
Officials said the situation could be worse than the last major flood that struck the region in 2002, when nearly 140 homes suffered damage. In addition to the rising water, officials are seeing some of the homeowner dikes have been improperly built, which may cause them to be ineffective.
More rain is forecast through the weekend. The Salvation Army is offering clean-up kits to flooded communities, and will provide help with financial assistance if there is a need and resources allow.
According to local emergency managers infrastructure damage estimates are more than $3 million already. Along with government property, some homes have lost their foundations and others have sitting water in basements.
The Salvation Army is preparing to distribute hundreds of clean-up kits to residents of Southwestern Minnesota, where heavy rainfall drenched communities early this morning. The clean-up kits include items such as bleach, sponges, mops, gloves, and more.
Between 100 and 200 kits should be available by 5 p.m. or earlier in the following communities:
- Owatonna, Salvation Army Store, 1810 S. Cedar Ave.
- Faribault, Salvation Army Store, 200 Western Ave. NW
- Edgerton, distributed through the local emergency management office
- LeCenter, distributed through the local emergency management office
South Central Minn.
Salvation Army volunteers and staff responded to the needs of three communities in south central Minnesota by providing immediate nourishment for emergency responders and residents dealing with power outages, wind damage and flooding. Nearly 200 people were served in the cities of Maple Island, Alden and Albert Lea (see photos).
“The Hollandale Fire Department sent out a few generators on our behalf in Maple Island,” said Captain Jim Brickson, Albert Lea Salvation Army leader. “Our highest concern is for homebound seniors and those with disabilities whenever the power goes out.”
Brickson said their main job is providing cold water, sandwiches and snacks.
“We wrapped up our response on Wednesday,” he said. “But it looks like there is more rain in the forecast. That is not welcome news for anyone.”