Flood cleanup continues in Indiana

September 18, 2008 9:58:42 AM PDT
Some flood victims in Munster, Ind., are still waiting to return home as other residents criticize the city's response. Munster officials are sending inspectors and firefighters on a house-by-house check before they let residents back into their homes. Some residents will be allowed to return to their homes Thursday to access the damage from the flooding.

"Water has receded significantly since yesterday. We made substantial progress. We will be opening major traffic arteries later tonight and we are beginning the reentry procedures in the center of town, which is the area that has seen a significant amount of drainage," said Tom DeGiulio, Munster Town Manager.

Other flood victims are frustrated by the lack of response from the government. The government's offices in Munster are only set up to provide housing and insurance help.

"There is nothing to register here for disaster relief. There is nothing to register for FEMA, and as far as they know, FEMA is not coming until maybe next week," said Nick D'Angelo, flood victim.

As the cleanup continues, some residents, like Kevin McCarthy, are questioning how well Munster town officials handled the disaster. He says after the levee breached it took the city hours to respond.

"The levee broke behind my business at around 10:30, 11:00 in the morning we started getting water coming over. From that time on, we were trying to get equipment and sandbags back in there to get it repaired. We got the hole plugged around 6:00, serve 7:00," said Kevin McCarthy, Munster business owner.

City officials say they understand the frustrations of their residents but they handled the crisis as well as can be expected.

"We respond quickly to everything. We moved as fast as we could. I was here during the evacuation. The evacuation was as orderly as possible as an evacuation can be," said Lt. Kurt Matz, Munster Police Dept.

"The criticism is that we had over ten inches of rain. The river crested ten feet over flood stage. The city worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday relentlessly trying to do it. We have low spots in our dikes because the Army Corps project is not completed. When we get the full benefit of that project, this problem would not have occurred," said DeGiulio.

Part of the flood zone in Munster was rocked by a gas explosion Thursday night. Officials say in some spots utility crews cannot shut off natural gas service because the mains are under water.


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