State Senator describes flood-scene as “haunting”
By Kisha Henry
OTTUMWA, IOWA — Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg made a trip to Ottumwa Tuesday to visit with Senators Keith Kreiman and Becky Schmitz, as well as Ottumwa residents.
Part of a four-day flood tour, Hogg wanted to hear from residents who have suffered flood-damage to their properties.
After viewing the Rabbit Run area, Hogg described the scene as “haunting” and referenced the similarity to the 2008 flooding of his hometown of Cedar Rapids.
“Literally, without the state’s help, we would still be flat on our back. We had over 5,000 homes flooded, 800 businesses, 80 percent of our government buildings, including our library and our fire department, and on, and on and on,” he said. “We’ve been so grateful for the state’s help and now it’s sort-of our turn to help people in other parts of the state with their recovery efforts.”
He recalled programs set in place after the 2008 flooding for purposes such as now.
“One is the Disaster Mitigation Fund, which I know Wapello County has applied for money to help with some projects there to prevent future flood damage. We’ve also created the University of Iowa and Iowa Flood Center, which is a statewide resource to help communities with flood planning and we’ve done some other things with the investment in our water sheds to try to hold more water, so that it will be less of a flood problem. We’ve done that series of things and we need to do more of that.”
He said the meeting was not just about helping Iowans recover, but also about the state working with and helping protect communities from future flooding.
“You’ve got to work with FEMA, you’ve got to work with the Iowans Helping Iowans program, and then when the legislature convenes in 2011, we’ve got to continue to help Iowans who are struggling from flood damage.”
After meeting with the residents, Hogg went on a tour of the city to view the extent of the flood damage.