ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa (KTIV) – It’s been nearly three weeks since parts of our area reached record flood levels. Even though, water is now back in its banks, there’s still a lot of work left to do.
If you’re just passing through downtown Rock Rapids, Iowa, it may seem perfectly picturesque to you.
“You wouldn’t be able to tell anymore how bad the damage was just two and a half weeks ago,” Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep said.
But, the damage caused by the rising waters in Lyon County is extensive. Homes, businesses, Island Park, and many roads took a hit.
“There are still a lot of people that are working day in and day out inside their homes. There are a lot of volunteers coming yet that are helping to clean up these homes,” Vander Stoep said.
“We power washed the basement all out, now we’re bleaching the walls, scrubbing the walls down that are good yet in the basement and the floors, and just trying to get ready for the new wall to get put up,” Rock Rapids, IA Flood Victim Kenny Roemen said.
Roemen’s basement was destroyed by the record flood levels, and he’s been displaced from his home. But, he said he feels fortunate compared to others because his home is salvageable, unlike his neighbor’s just two doors down.
“There’s going to be a lot of homes totaled out, but I guess that’s the nature of the beast,” Roemen said.
And, gutting the homes takes a lot of hard work and could cause a huge financial strain on families. That’s why organizations like NECHAMA, AmeriCorps, and Team Rubicon are here helping out.
“In order to make it so that families can rebuild, we are mediating some of the costs that it would take for contractors to come in,” Victoria Young, with Team Rubicon, said.
These volunteers are removing moldy walls and also helping out with smaller home repairs around the area.
“This community has just really pulled it together, helping clean up debris piles, and neighbors helping neighbors out, and it’s just really wonderful to see,” Young said.
Those living in the area said it’s this kind of collaboration that’s made this devastation so much easier to cope with.
“Everybody’s doing alright. I think they’re kind of catching their breath. They’re still working hard, and everybody’s kind of working together as much as they can,” Roemen said.
Even though, county leaders said it will take a long time before everything is back to normal, they’re making progress.
“The nice thing about this community and this county is we all get together and we all work together. This will be something we always remember, but we’re going to get through it, and we’re going to be stronger because of it,” Vander Stoep said.
A community that’s demonstrated it’s true strength in the face of Mother Nature.
Vander Stoep said the county has been working with FEMA and state organizations to figure out how they’ll fund the recovery efforts.