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Two weeks later, cleanup continues

Floodwaters from the Zumbro River submerged much of Zumbro Falls after heavy rains struck the region nearly two weeks ago. Aid workers say more volunteers are needed to assist with cleanup efforts. R-E photo by Eric Ludy

ZUMBRO FALLS -- Residents and volunteers from throughout southeastern Minnesota are still picking up the pieces after floodwaters from the Zumbro River ravaged this tiny community nearly two weeks ago.

United Way Director Meg Walch, who is helping to coordinate volunteer efforts, said there is a "desperate need" for volunteers to aid in cleanup efforts through the coming week.

"The need is still out there," she said. "The scope of this disaster is just unbelievable."

Wabasha County deputies estimate that more than 150 homes in the area, including the cities of Zumbro Falls, Hammond and Jarret, sustained damage in floods that began Sept. 23 and lingered through the following week.

On Monday, volunteers were working to clear flood-damaged belongings off of curbsides throughout Zumbro Falls. Highways leading into town were closed to and barricades were placed across city streets.

Aid workers are in the "cleanup stage," said Wabasha County deputy Brad Modjeski, removing furniture, appliances, insulation and other damaged materials from homes.

He said the rebuilding stage would not likely begin for some time.

"It will be a little while before people begin pounding the first nails," he said.

Groups of volunteers from Goodhue County have assisted in cleanup efforts in Zumbro Falls over the past two weeks.

Sentencing to Serve crews from Goodhue County have been sent to Zumbro Falls, according to Majeski.

The Goodhue County Chapter of the American Red Cross has sent more than 10 individuals to the city over the past week, local Director Sara Schuck said. The aid workers are helping to provide food to volunteers and affected homeowners, and clothing to people who have lost their possessions due to flooding.

@Sub heads:Next steps

@Normal1: Volunteers will be needed at least through next week, said Walch of the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha & Pierce Counties.

As cleanup efforts give way to rebuilding, there will be a growing need for more specialized volunteers such as construction workers, electricians and plumbers in the city, she said.

People interested in volunteering should register at Lion's Park in Mazeppa. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. every day.