MISSOURI RIVER FLOOD 2019

(Sidney) -- While much of the world's attention is on the coronavirus spread, the recovery from the floods of 2019 continues in Fremont County.

Last year at this time, Fremont County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Crecelius and other local officials were dealing with the disastrous flooding which swallowed hundreds of homes along the Missouri River. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program, Crecelius says communities and residents impacted by the flooding are still coping with its aftermath.

"There are residents in the Bartlett area that are not going to be there," said Crecelius. "The buildings are not going to be there anymore. There's a few of those folks that are on the buyout. McPaul, there will probably be just one residence left there--the rest of them are going to be gone. Percival, the community itself, they're all still there. There's some of the outlying areas west of Percival, itself, that have applied to be on the buyout, or have their houses destroyed doing the 403 demolition program later on.

"There's some west of Hamburg that are on the buyout program, and some that have expressed interest in the 403 demolition program, also," he added.

And for some, Crecelius says the recovery process is still slow.

"I still have some flood cleanup kits and buckets here," he said. "I've had a number of people in the last week come in and get some of them, because there are some people that, because of the road conditions in the county, are just now getting back into their property."

In addition to lingering flood-related issues, the county now must deal with the COVID-19 threat. Crecelius says balancing the two situations is difficult.

"With what we're being told about the coronavirus," said Crecelius, "with no more than 10 people in a gathering, I decided I need to call the Red Cross, and have a little discussion with them about, how do we run a shelter if we would have to evacuate people, if you're not supposed to have more than 10 people in a gathering. They are supposed to be sending me some guidance on what their guidelines would be if that situation would happen. With what we're seeing on the rivers right now, we're not going to have worry about that."

Crecelius says some residents are complying with recommendations regarding social distancing and staying indoors, others aren't.

"The sad thing is to listen to all these people saying, 'we need to be locked down, we need to be locked down,'" he said. "I'm not talking about county employees, I'm talking about the public, in general. Just because the governor hasn't done a 100% lockdown, you go out, and there's people running around all over the place--not quite as many people as normal. But, pay attention to what we're being told--don't go out unless you have to."

You can hear the full interview with Mike Crecelius on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.

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