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Monday, November 7, 2011

Residents Displaced from Homes Due to Flooding

A months-long drive to house residents displaced by a summer deluge in Minot, North Dakota, and surrounding communities drags on, a day before officials expect to release the outline of a flood control proposal.

Some 5,000 homes were swamped in June when the Souris River ran over its banks in North Dakota, most of them in Minot where floodwater pooled in some neighborhoods for up to a month, reaching more than a dozen feet deep.

More than a quarter of Minot's population, about 11,000 people, were displaced by the flood. Many residents have been unable to reoccupy their homes as winter approaches, adding to an already critical housing shortage.

The release of the proposed flood-control plan on Thursday for the Souris, or Mouse, River has been seen as a critical next step for residential recovery in the region.

Homeowners have left many of the flood-damaged houses untouched while they wait to see where proposed flood defenses will be added, extended or increased. The plans could give them information needed to decide whether to wait for buyouts, or repair or replace the houses in low-lying areas.

Federal officials had aimed to have about 2,300 temporary housing units placed in and around Minot by early November on private property and in newly constructed groups or on mobile home park commercial sites.

The drive to place about 1,100 temporary housing units on private property was nearing completion by Wednesday, but slow progress in laying infrastructure had left the temporary communities and commercial properties with only about 230 units occupied out of a projected 1,200 total units.

After rain-related delays, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hopes to complete infrastructure for 850 units in newly built communities of temporary housing in the Minot area by the end of November, spokesman Patrick Moes said.

"It's not going as fast we would like," Moes said. "We want to get these people in their homes as fast as possible, but it looks like at this point that we are definitely shooting for the end of the month to have that completed."

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