Flood clean-up volunteers needed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flood clean-up volunteers needed

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The flash flood on July 7 flood took dozens of Waterloo neighborhoods by surprise. Even now, many of the homeowners are still trying to figure out how to clean out the mess.

Hundreds of homeowners in the Cedar Valley are asking for help cleaning up their basements. Black Hawk Emergency Management said more than 500 people have called the United Way's 211 line asking for assistance.

"We've had calls from all walks of life. People who are needing assistance hauling out items maybe because they're elderly, or just people who don't really know how to go about the cleanup process after having water," said Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley Lauren Polleymounter.

The areas impacted this time are generally not prone to flooding, which makes it difficult for some people to know where to start.

"You have an occasional person listed here that we know we helped in the 2008 flood. But I think an entire different area of our county was affected this time," said Polleymounter.

Unlike 2008, people may not realize how many homeowners are impacted this summer -- which is why the greatest need is volunteers. All they're asking is for people who have a little extra time, and are prepared to work up a sweat.

"We will have some on-site training for the volunteers. But really it's just getting in people's homes and not being afraid to get a little dirty. We have volunteers who would help remove items from homes, carrying out and removing wet, soiled carpets, and dry wall. And of course that bleaching and scrubbing and sanitizing that comes with flood water," said Polleymounter.

Polleymounter is estimating about 2,000 families were affected by July's flash flood. They're hoping to reach as many as they can, starting with those identified as having the greatest need. Volunteers will start cleaning out homes next week, beginning on Monday July 19. If necessary, the organization will find people to help on the weekends as well.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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