No Flood Insurance for Many Freeport Families

Aug 29, 2016

Flood waters in Northeast Iowa have inundated homes, and for many of those families, they'll be forced to rebuild without the benefits of flood insurance. Josh McGrath and his family were asleep in Freeport, Iowa on Wednesday when flood waters came crashing into their basement. He and his wife Miranda escaped with their three children through waist deep water outside their home to get to safety while their basement filled with water.

"We ignored the flash flood warning," he says. "It was about 4:00 in the morning when we heard our daughter screaming and the water started coming in."

"We're not in the flood plain, so we didn't think it would affect us. We don't have flood insurance because you can't get it unless you're in the flood plain."

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with McGrath about his home that's going to need nearly hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs. 

The McGraths aren't the only families who suffered major losses that will not be covered by home owners insurance. Many of them have started Go Fund Me pages to help with rebuilding. 

Further downstream just off the Turkey River, Fredrique Boudouani, who lives in Elkader is working hard to help his partner Brian Bruening get the doors to his restaurant, Schera's, back open.

"Being completely closed, never mind the damage, is a big hit on a business. We're hoping to get him up and running by Friday," Boudouani says. 

He joins the program along with Lissa Blake, Staff Reporter for Decorah Newspapers; Witold Krajewski, Director of the Iowa Flood Center; and Gary Siegworth, a Natural Resource Biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

Krajewski says that we are seeing some trends with flooding in Iowa due to a number of factors including climate change and land use. 

"There are significant changes in land use. Here in Iowa, we lose soil to erosion. Soil works as a buffer of sorts. It's like a sponge, and so when you have a smaller sponge, it can hold less water. So, there are a variety of factors that contribute to this."