Small towns suffer big losses as rivers rise

To help

Some agencies that are coordinating flood assistance:

United Way 2008 Midwest Flood Recovery Fund: Go online to LiveUnited.org or call (866) 404-5826. Checks can be mailed to United Way C/O One World Communications, 5195 Hamstead Village Way, Suite 135, New Albany, OH 43054. Checks should be made out to the United Way and include "United Way 2008 Midwest Flood Recovery Fund" on the memo line.

American Red Cross Central U.S. Floods and Tornadoes relief: Go on the Web to redcrossmidwestflooding.wordpress.com/

Salvation Army Response to Flooding: Donations may be sent to local your Salvation Army earmarked "Disaster Relief," made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

OAKVILLE, Iowa — Iowans assessed their losses on Wednesday from flooding that inundated Des Moines and Iowa City as small towns up and down the Mississippi awaited the worst of the flooding. Some rivers were not expected to crest until today.

Storms and flooding across six states this month have killed 24 people, injured 148 and caused more than $1.5-billion in estimated damage in Iowa alone. Damage estimates likely to increase as river levels climb in Missouri and Illinois.

Federal officials predicted as many as 30 levees could overflow this week, leaving industrial and agricultural areas vulnerable but sparing major residential centers. So far this week, 20 levees have overflowed.

At least 10 levees have been topped in Illinois and Missouri in recent days, including two south of tiny Gulfport, Ill., that threatened to swamp 30,000 acres of farmland near the evacuated town of Meyer, Ill.

A 280-mile stretch of the Mississippi River remained closed between Fulton, Ill., and Winfield, Mo., because of flooding and is expected to remain closed for at least 10 more days.

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt sent 600 members of the National Guard to the northeastern part of the state, plus another 100 to the St. Louis area to help towns further downstream.

In Illinois, 1,100 Illinois National Guard troops have been sent to help flooded communities.

"My property is right on this street. I've got a lot to lose," said Tony Dye, whose home in Canton, Mo., stands beneath the levee and well below the river's expected crest. The river was projected to crest at Canton today at nearly 14 feet above flood stage.

Even if population hubs are spared, some fear entire communities may be lost forever, possibly wiping off the map names such as Columbus Junction, Fredonia, Palo and New Hartford.

About 70 percent of Iowa towns have populations of less than 1,000. Just over half of those have fewer than 500 inhabitants.

South of Iowa City, the town of Columbus Junction, population 2,000, suffered a major blow because it's below the confluence of the Iowa and Cedar rivers. The medical center, pharmacy, day care, senior center, a hotel and a dozen other businesses were under about 10 feet of water after a levee broke Saturday.

Government scrambles to help

The White House is asking Congress for $1.8-billion in emergency disaster aid for the Midwest. Congressional aides say lawmakers are likely to add money to the president's request. A bill could pass as soon as today.

To help

Here are some agencies that are coordinating flood assistance.

•United Way 2008 Midwest Flood Recovery Fund: Go online to LiveUnited.org or call (866) 404-5826. Checks can be mailed to United Way C/O One World Communications, 5195 Hamstead Village Way, Suite 135, New Albany, OH 43054. Checks should be made out to the United Way and include "United Way 2008 Midwest Flood Recovery Fund" on the memo line.

•American Red Cross Central U.S. Floods and Tornadoes relief: Go on the Web to redcrossmidwestflooding.wordpress.com/

• Salvation Army Response to Flooding: Donations may be sent to local your Salvation Army earmarked "Disaster Relief," made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Small towns suffer big losses as rivers rise 06/18/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:35pm]

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