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Attention turns to damage tallies as airlifts wane

LYONS, Colo. — The emergency airlifts of flood victims waned Tuesday, leaving rescue crews to systematically search the nooks and crannies of the northern Colorado foothills and transportation officials to gauge what it will take to rebuild the wasted landscape.

More than 3,000 people have been evacuated by air and ground since last week's devastating floods, but calls for those emergency rescues are now dwindling, federal and state emergency officials said.

Military rescue crews have met to identify new areas to check and places to cover again with hundreds of people still considered missing.

The state's latest count has dropped to about 580 people missing, and the number continues to decrease as the stranded get in touch with families.

State officials reported six flood-related deaths, plus two women missing and presumed dead. The number was expected to increase. It could take weeks or even months to search through flooded areas looking for people who died.

With the airlifts tapering, state and local transportation officials are tallying the washed-out roads, collapsed bridges and twisted railroad lines. The rebuilding effort will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and take months, if not years.

State officials have put initial estimates at more than 19,000 homes damaged or destroyed throughout the flooded areas.

Federal aid is forthcoming — it's not known how much yet — after President Barack Obama's disaster declaration. An initial $5 million has been pledged.

Kathryn Reeves tows a boat with family possessions from her godparents’ trailer Tuesday in Evans, Colo. The state estimates that there are about 580 people missing from the floods.

Associated Press

Kathryn Reeves tows a boat with family possessions from her godparents’ trailer Tuesday in Evans, Colo. The state estimates that there are about 580 people missing from the floods.

Attention turns to damage tallies as airlifts wane 09/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:07pm]
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