Des Moines Calls On Community For Future Flood Response Help

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Two months removed from historic flash flooding and over 1,100 impacted homes, the pain felt by victims in Des Moines remains fresh today.  It's not just losing stuff, it is a serious safety and danger issue here," said Jamie Smith, who's home sustained significant damage in June.

In a flash flood response meeting Tuesday night, the City of Des Moines admitted response could have been more effective and more organized.  "Should we just go straight to curbside pickup or do we be fiscally responsible and scale it to the circumstances," said Assistant City Manager Phil Delafield.

Dozens of residents weren't afraid to demand for improvements, "You need to figure out who's going to be the emergency manager and who's going be coordinator for all activities and you've got to have somebody that has that title," said one concerned citizen.

City leaders urged residents with concerns to join in on finding a solution by volunteering on one of four committees of communications, infrastructure debris management and insurance.  Delafield said, "We can't design for every ten inch rain and it doesn't happen every week but we are in a period of climate change and so what should the new norm be?"

Roger Hill's home in the Beaverdale neighborhood took on significant damage and says the meeting did not meet his expectations.  "I'm coming away thinking that what they've done in the last two months is four committees. that doesn't help."

While some were disappointed to hear that a final plan will not be finalized until the end of the year, despite the criticism, other residents believe it is a breakthrough after decades of continued flood damage.  Smith said, "In 1998, I lost my basement, in 2011, I had five feet of water, in 2018 I lost my basement again. Never until this flood has anyone said a word to me, come to my home, so this is night and day."

The newly formed committee meetings will begin next week.


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