Yellowstone River flood victims get assistance

The flooding along the Yellowstone River has been devastating for residents in two states: Montana and North Dakota.

Some roads are still shut down, and people are still waiting to get back into their homes to assess the damage.

However, Mark Cozzens, who is a Fairview, MT resident and had to evacuate his home last Sunday, said he is one of the lucky flood victims.

He was able to get back into his home on Thursday.

Cozzen’s said his basement had about five feet of flooding in it, and it will have to be “gutted”.

We have just about all the sheet rocks off the wall. We pulled the insulation out. Hopefully, by tomorrow we will have fans going. We will have to clean and sanitize”.

Cozzens said it will be awhile before he and his family can live in the home.

He has lived in Fairview for about nine years, and he like others thought they would never see destruction like this.  

“It is sickening, said Cozzens.

Outside of the damage to his house, the flood waters brought tons of debris to people’s homes.

Cozzens said he found empty propane tanks, tires, and straw around his house.

He said it was “unbelievable”.

The process of bringing normalcy back to his life will be a long one, but he is grateful for the support he has been getting from the community in dealing with the damage and cleanup.

“We have had people show up at the house. . . I mean some we don’t even know, said  Cozzens.

Thomas McCabe, chairman of the board for the McKenzie County Commission, said some things won’t be able to be repaired.

“Most people are just very sad that they have lost all their possessions”.

When KX News was in Fairview on Monday, Highway 200 from Fairview to Cartwright was closed; it has since been reopened to motorists, except for trucks.

However, there are still 13 county roads closed and many areas along the river are still dealing with severe flooding.

“Some people haven’t been back to their homes yet. They are completely surrounded by water,” said McCabe.

The McKenzie County Emergency Manager said it could be awhile before they get back in their homes.

 “A lot of them are probably a week or two out,” said Karolin Jappe, McKenzie County Emergency Manager.

More than 50 homes and 100 people were devastated by the flood, and many of them if not all of them are dealing with a lot of uncertainty and have a lot of questions.

To assist flood victims who are still dealing with the effects of the flood, Jappe helped organize a Multi-Agency Resource Center  at the Fairview Fire Hall on Saturday.

The ten local and state agencies offered everything from disaster mental health assistance to helping people clean up their homes.

“Some are focusing on health. What to do in case of mold? What to do in case of septic water. All those different things that also come with flooding,” said Jappe

One of the things on lot of people’s minds is financial assistance.

Not just for individual assistance but for public assistance. 

“The county roads have been devastated. How bad the irrigation canals have been devastated,” said McCabe.

Cozzens like many of the homeowners didn’t have flood insurance, because the area isn’t mapped as a flood zone by FEMA. 

Jappe said McKenzie County is preparing to send an emergency declaration to the State, and they are currently working with the governor’s office.

Governor Doug Burgum took a tour of the flood region and visited with families earlier in the week.

Jappe also said if Fargo and Grand Forks start to flood the state will end up in a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

Jappe said there will be help on the way, but she doesn’t know “When or for how much”.

The agencies at the Multi-Agency Resource Center event were: ND Department of Emergency Services, Upper Missouri District Health Unit, Northwest and North Dakota Department of Human Services, Lutheran Social Services, Farm Service Agency, North Dakota Department of Health, North Dakota Department of Ag, NDSU Extension Service, Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints,
and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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