Flood Disaster Centers open to aid in flood cleanup - New York News

Flood Disaster Centers open to aid in flood cleanup

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WILLOW RIVER, Minn. -

Tim Prachar still has a hard time comprehending the destructive power of the flash floods that swallowed his Willow River property ten days ago.

Over 7 feet of water flowed into Prachar's basement, literally topping out at the light fixtures.

It destroyed his furnace, water heater, refrigerator and freezer.

Prachar, who doesn't have flood insurance, figures replacing everything will cost over $20,000.

"After a while, it really wears on you," he said. "Hard to keep stiff upper lip sometimes. But support of family, church and neighbors is really encouraging."

For the first time since the disaster struck, flood victims across rural Pine County and the Northland had access to state, local and non-profit recovery assistance in one location.

Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management opened several recovery centers on Friday, including locations in Willow River, Duluth and Barnum.

"When this disaster occurred, it hit us really hard," said Pine County Sheriff Robin Coles.

While Duluth and other northern communities received most of the attention after the aftermath, Pine County was also hit hard, in places like Willow River Sturgeon Lake and Rutledge.

Approximately 130 homes were severely impacted county-wide, and roughly 75 are uninhabitable.

Damage totals here top $1.5 million to public infrastructure, and more than $5 million in personal losses.

And while the major disaster declaration from the federal government is appreciated, the folks here are still hoping that individual aid will soon be available.

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