Minot continues to feel the river

Minot continues to feel the river

By KEVIN R. TENGESDAL Bismarck May 28, 2012

Bismarck, let’s discuss your 2011 flood tragedy as a whole after driving through Minot and visiting friends living in FEMA trailers. I did that on a recent Sunday afternoon, a year after the sirens sounded and a summer of flooding inundated the Mouse River Valley. Yes, there were some homes in Bismarck that were lost. In Minot there were some 4,000 housing units impacted by the flooding devastation.

Hundreds of homes were simply uninhabitable and hundreds more are gutted waiting to be rebuilt. Hundreds of homes where the homeowners do not have the funds, the insurance or the wherewithal to begin to rebuild. Hundreds waiting to find out what can be done. Hundreds of rental units/houses where the landlords walked away and left tenants homeless. Countless families of all demographics who lost every single thing. Businesses, churches, schools were also devastated or destroyed.

The friends that I visited live in a FEMA trailer that is not even in what was considered a flood plain. They had 5 feet of water on the main level, which is a good 4 or 5 feet above ground level. They have had to gut their house to the studs and are in the process of rebuilding. It is a whole different world up there than here down along the Missouri River.

You see neighborhood after neighborhood that looks like a war zone. I had lived in Jerusalem for nine months back in the ’90s. Slum districts that I saw in the Gaza Strip looked more habitable than neighborhoods I saw in Minot. This is the simple fact of Minot: our neighbors, our friends, our families.

Almost every person in Minot knows someone personally whose life has been decimated by the Mouse. That’s just Minot. Travel the river from Sherwood down through Minot and back up to Westhope and you will see communities, farmlands and bridges all severely impacted by the roar of the Mouse in 2011. It’s going to take decades for recovery — multiple decades, if ever, for some.

What upcoming administration will help Minot and North Dakota journey into a better future?


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