Hundreds of flood victims seek help in Polk County, Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa-    Polk County Emergency Management officials say they've seen more than 350-local flood victims at their Flood Disaster Recovery Center at 2309 Euclid Avenue in Des Moines.   Monday was the first day the center opened, after last weekend's flash flooding.  The center will be closed tomorrow (Wednesday) for the July 4th holiday, and will re-open Thursday.

Polk County Emergency Management Director A.J. Mumm says typically after a disaster there's a first wave of people, seeking help, and more will contact them later.   He's encouraging those impacted by last weekend's flooding to call 2-1-1 as soon as possible and self-report damage.

He says doing so will help officials get a better idea of the extent of damage.   He says data from those calls, will help the county compile a preliminary damage assessment which will be given to state officials next week.   Mumm also says dialing 2-1-1 will connect property owners with a wide variety of services, including help cleaning up a property.    Priority will be given to elderly residents or with those with special needs. 

The information was part of today's briefing Polk County Emergency Management briefing in Des Moines.

Other topics covered include:

*The City of Des Moines is changing it's policy for removal of flood-damaged debris.   The city is now offering free curbside pick-up for homes that have been inspected for flood damage.  The city is also offering five drop-off sites, residents can leave items, without charge.    Residents of non-inspected properties can leave items at the curb as well, but will need a sticker.   Residents need to call 2-1-1 to arrange for an inspector and/or to access services.  

City of Des Moines inspectors are combing through flood-damaged neighborhoods each day, between the hours of 7:30 a.m. until sunset, doing about 100-inspections per day.   It's anticipated most of the inspections will be completed by the end of this week.

*The Des Moines River is expected to fall below flood stage by this weekend.  Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible tomorrow (Wednesday) night and Thursday.  Rainfall in those storms is expected to be one quarter to one half inch.

*Crews from the Des Moines Public Works Department have been fixing flood-damaged roads.  The worst damage was on Cummin's Parkway.  Crews have done some patching, and the city will hire a contractor to make more permanent fixes.  There were 50-sewer back-ups in Des Moines during the flash flood.

*There are still about 30-displaced flood victims at the SE Polk Middle School shelter.

*Volunteers are needed, contact United Way in Des Moines for assignments.

*Those wishing to donate to help flood victims, are encouraged to use reputable charities.   Officials are encouraging monetary donations, rather than items or clothing.

*Des Moines Police are stepping up patrols around flood-damaged neighborhoods, where there may be un-occupied homes.

*The Polk County Health Department is encouraging those working in flood waters, to get a tetanus shot.  The County has given out about 50-of those so far.

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