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State should provide assistance to flood victims

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Four years ago, Wadena experienced an F4 tornado that damaged and destroyed many homes and other buildings. The citizens of Wadena pulled together and helped each other during cleanup and rebuilding. On July 10 and 11 this year, Wadena experienced torrential rains that resulted in water in basements for much of the southwest side of the town. While not on the same scale as the tornado, this event is still disastrous for many Wadena residents. Many homes have had catastrophic flooding and thousands of dollars of damage. The cleanup has been slow-going for many people and overwhelming.

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Unfortunately, most people affected by the flooding do not have insurance that will cover the damages. In addition to the financial burden this flood and sewer backup has put on the residents of Wadena, the emotional toll is costly as well. Some people were just beginning to feel like things were back to normal after the tornado, only to be hit with a second natural disaster.

Our city leaders are making a remarkable effort to contain the flooding and coordinate relief efforts. United Way and the American Red Cross have been mobilized to Wadena to provide meals, comfort for those affected and cleanup assistance. Their efforts should be applauded.

Still, there is more work to be done. Now is the time for the citizens of Wadena to pull together once more and help their neighbors in need. There are currently no organized plans to help those without flood insurance cleanup and rebuild. Those affected are stuck wondering how they can afford to pay thousands of dollars to replace walls, floors, furniture, appliances and their other belongings.

Gov. Mark Dayton visited Wadena Monday to meet with local officials and learn the extent of the damage. It is our hope that he and the state legislature will find a way to provide relief funds to help alleviate the financial burden the flood and sewer backup has placed on Wadena residents.

The editorial represents the opinion of the Pioneer Journal editorial board.

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