Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hundreds of North Dakota homes evacuated as Flood-Swollen Missouri River Continues to Rise - 11th June 2011

Residents of this North Dakota city were trying to keep water from their homes as the flood-swollen Missouri River continued to rise this week. By Friday night, more than 800 homes had been evacuated.

National Guard troops are patrolling the city's dikes for leaks while some evacuated residents are now using boats to check on their homes or to ferry fuel for generators pumping water from basements.

Disaster response organizations, including the Salvation Army, are providing support to flood survivors.

Spawned by a heavier-than-usual spring thaw coupled with above-average precipitation, the flood crest has raised the level of concern in communities across the upper Midwest accustomed to some degree of annual flooding.

One of the largest rivers in the nation, the Missouri rises in the Rocky Mountains of southwestern Montana and runs more than 2,300 miles until it empties into the Mississippi River near St. Louis. Along the way, it runs through or serves as a border for the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

By the end of the week, floodwaters were swamping numerous flood-prone neighborhoods in Bismarck.

Forecasters predicted the river may reach levels worse than those of the historic 2009 flood. The Missouri is expected to reach the 18-foot flood stage in Bismarck this weekend. Even after river crests, some degree of flooding was expected to continue for a month before residents will be able to “stand down.”

Prior to the arrival of the floodwaters, the community worked to build a 23-foot-high protective dike using sandbags. City employees, volunteers and more than 600 members of the National Guard worked to put the dike in place.

The Salvation Army has been on-site providing meals, snacks, water, and other services in collaboration with the American Red Cross since May 25.

Three Salvation Army mobile kitchens provided food and hydration for volunteers and relief workers at numerous locations throughout Bismarck and nearby Mandan.

The Red Cross provided shelter to evacuees.

The Salvation Army of the Twin Cities shipped pallets of water, snacks and 150 clean-up kits to assist in flood relief efforts.

The rising waters also prompted authorities to mobilize a makeshift armada of rescue boats to assist in the evacuation of those living in areas cut off by rapidly-rising floodwaters. Police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and wildlife agents used airboats, flat-bottom boats, Zodiac boats and patrol boats to move stranded residents. Read More