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July 15, 2014 10:00 PM

Canton Still Recovering One Month After Flooding

Canton, SD

It's been exactly one month since rushing water flooded the town of Canton destroying homes, businesses, and roadways in its path.

Even though the water has receded, people are still drying out their basements and salvaging the things they can.

At first glance, the community of Canton appears to be well on the road to recovery.

"If you would've come here a month ago, these streets were lined with garbage. People bringing stuff up from their basements, appliances, carpet, carpet pads, dry wall; it was quite a sight. But now, if you come through, it's starting to look a lot more as it usually does," Canton City Manager Sean Pederson said.

Only first looks can be deceiving. A closer look reveals there is still a long way to go. Volunteer workers are in town helping homeowners with clean-up.

"The difficulty with flooding is that you can drive by a house and it may have several feet of water or had several feet of water in it, but you just don't know that. Whereas with other disasters, you go through and you can usually tell whether or not a house has been touched by a tornado or a fire or an earthquake," Pederson said.

The town of Canton has really cleaned up in the last month, but homeowners say the recovery process is far from over.

"I think it'll be a continuous battle until things settle down," homeowner Kristin Hazen said.

Hazen says she's been battling with her insurance company ever since the flood, trying to receive assistance after losing nearly everything in her basement.

"Everything from washer, dryer, the furnace will need to be replaced. We had a couch, a bed, clothes, pretty much everything that we had down there," Hazen said.

Hazen says she was looking forward to receiving help from FEMA and is disappointed the agency denied individual assistance to people in Canton. Hazen and her family have only lived in their current home for one year, but after the flood, this homeowner isn't sure they'll stay.

"Well, the family I think wants to look to relocate. Just because we have a family of four anyways, and I think it'll be just easier maybe to rebuild what we can and then look for something maybe a bit bigger outside of Canton," Hazen said.

People living outside of Canton, including Kathy Holter, also had water in their basements.

"There was 48 inches of water up to about the sixth step in the basement, and after that finally receded, we were left with about three inches of mud over the whole basement," homeowner Kathy Holter said.

Holter and her husband live right next to a creek. Even though she wasn't home when the flooding hit, it took just one call from her husband Dave to let her know what she'd be coming home to.

"As Dave said, I am totally surrounded with water," Holter said.

Water that washed away a large majority of gravel from the couple's driveway, destroyed their garden and even washed a large, uprooted tree onto the Holters' front lawn. They have no idea where it came from and no idea when it will be removed.

"You know, it's still overwhelming to look around and see all the mess outside, and that'll just take time to work with that," Holter said.

Thankfully, Holter and her husband are still able to live in their home, but about 10 other families aren't as lucky. The foundation of Bryan Roberts' home needs to be replaced so for now, he's living with relatives. Despite the situation, he's optimistic.

"Each day gets better. We've just been cleaning up, you know, little by little every day, and every day gets better I guess... just waiting for insurance to come back and say what they're going to do about it as far as repairs," Roberts said.

Moving forward, the City has set up committees to determine whether they can help with pressing needs everything from washers and dryers to water heaters. Then, there are the lingering emotional needs.

"I feel like we've gotten nowhere," Hazen said.

While the people of Canton are far from making a complete recovery, people are simply taking it day by day, hoping that another "100 year flood" is at least that far away.

The community is planning to host a benefit for the town on Thursday, July 31. The Concert for Canton event will be centered around live music and a car auction. All proceeds will go the Deinema Foundation, which will help assist families in Canton who are still recovering from the flood. If you'd like to donate, you can call the number listed below.

Canton Chamber of Commerce: (605) 764-7864

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