Flood Victim Heads Home, But Others Stay in RV Parks

August 3, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Some of the RV sites at the North Sioux City KOA where Missouri River flood victims have spent much of the summer.

On Saturday (July 30), Steve DeBoom packed up the RV, checked out of the North Sioux City, S.D., KOA Kampground and headed home to Dakota Dunes.

Life is looking up.

So sick from cancer treatments that “I had to be pushed up here,” when he fled the threat of Missouri River flooding two months ago, DeBoom is going home under his own power. His health has improved to the point that he can handle the steps in his townhouse, and he is planning a trip to Utah to see a new great-granddaughter, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

“It’s kind of silly to live in this (recreational vehicle) with a house just down the street,” he said Thursday on his next-to-last day of extended camping.

DeBoom is one of hundreds of residents of southeast South Dakota – mostly in the Dakota Dunes and Riverland Estates areas just northwest of Sioux City, Iowa – who were forced to flee flooding in late May when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ramped up releases from Missouri River Dams.

While DeBoom’s home never fell victim to the high water, he evacuated on the advice of officials because he lived within a zone they worried would flood. Now, he’s going home.

But hundreds of other area residents up and down the river – from Bismarck, N.D., to Pierre and Fort Pierre, to Dakota Dunes – aren’t as fortunate. The Flood of 2011 remains their antagonist.

Corps of Engineers officials announced Friday a schedule for cutting the flow of water from Gavins Point Dam near Yankton and the other dams on the mainstem system. But corps officials have offered no specific projection when Dakota Dunes and nearby residential developments will dry out so all homeowners can return.

During the news conference Friday, state Sen. Dan Lederman asked when the evacuation order for Dakota Dunes would be lifted. John Remus, chief of the Omaha District’s hydrological engineering branch, answered by saying that river flows in Sioux City could drop below flood stage by late August.

Not having such basic information to plan their future might be the most difficult part for those displaced by the flood.

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