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Citizens come through to help neighbors

By Staff | Apr 3, 2009

Water is a precious resource.

However, it can also be a source of frustration and anguish.

And the latter is what residents in many communities in North Dakota are enduring right now.

Severe spring flooding in the Red River Valley has affected many communities, including Fargo, which has seen record flooding, forcing families from their homes and causing significant property damage.

Yet places farther west where flooding doesn’t often occur are also getting hit. Ice jams on the Missouri River disrupted the normal flow of the river, forcing water to back up and flood low-lying areas in the Bismarck-Mandan area. And small towns like Linton, Beulah and Mott have seen record snow amounts and rapid melting rise nearby river levels and flood areas of those communities.

The flooding has grabbed the attention of the national media, sending reporters and cameras to the state to cover the flood fight.

And that’s what it is: a fight against the power of Mother Nature. However, the power of the human spirit can’t be underestimated, either.

And what the flooding has again revealed is how events like this draw people closer. Neighbors help neighbors, and strangers not affected by flooding drive hundreds of miles to pitch in, helping fill sand bags and build dikes.

Those stories are also important to report and affirm how North Dakotans come to the aid of their fellow citizens.

When the flood waters recede, public officials will assess the damage and determine what changes are necessary to best prepare and protect communities against future flooding.

In the case of Fargo, it likely will mean a more permanent flood protection system, similar to the one constructed in Grand Forks following the 1997 flood. Residents and officials there simply can’t be forced to battle significant flooding once every decade.

It’s too taxing and too expensive.

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