The recent Sioux Falls flood came and hit the community hard. But it can’t wash away the strong sense of community here in KELOLAND.
South Dakota leaders met Saturday morning to decide where we go from here.
South Dakota Governer Kristi Noem, Senator John Thune, and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken met with city officials to assess the damage done across Sioux Falls.
“I think that gives a new level of empathy to determining how we need to respond as a city and what we can do going forward to ensure that we always minimize this sort of impact as much as possible,” Mayor TenHaken said.
After an event like this, it’s going to take some time to recover.
“I think it’s important in situations like this for people to be patient, not to take chances. The good news coming out of this – in terms of public health and safety – we didn’t have loss of life. And it’s always – property can be replaced, buildings can be replaced, things can be replaced, but people can’t be replaced,” Senator Thune said.
Despite the hardships, the community has stayed united.
“On the local level, the 211 Helpine Center has been tremendous in this. One of the gentlemen we stopped and talked with today, he was there volunteering because he came through the Helpline Center, so the Helpline Center has really helped unite the volunteer base that we’re working with,” Mayor TenHaken said.
“There were people in the neighborhood; friends and family who had come over, investing all of their time and energy to try and get people back on their feet and that too speaks volumes about the caliber of people we have here in South Dakota and the willingness of neighbors to help neighbors,” Senator Thune said.
Noem has signed an emergency declaration. Before the flood, the legislature had been preparing by giving $500,000 in emergency funds.
“That’ll help cover overtime costs, DOT costs, plowing, highway patrol officers and coordinating with counties and cities,” Noem said.
But right now, one of the biggest things the city can do is work together.
“I’m going to ask people out there to document, take pictures, start looking at costs they have had in damages, I know our counties and our city will as well, tallying up really what the costs may be and the damage done so that we can partner with making a declaration to the federal government level,” Governor Noem said.
“Having had some experience with disasters in the past from the federal level, from our stand point it’s all kind of keyed and contingent upon the documentation the city and the state put together and I know the mayor and the Governor will be working to do that,” Senator Thune said.