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Even as Water Recedes Flood Victims Have to be Wary of Dangers

By Daniel Cherry | Published 23 May 2011 03:00pm | comments

Mississippi floodwaters have started to decline but it will take weeks to return to normal levels. MPB's Daniel Cherry has more on what residents need to know as they're able to return home.

Harry Johnson bought what he calls his dream home at the Tunica Cutoff. It's lakefront property but very prone to floods. He's getting ready to leave the Red Cross shelter, but he's wondering if he'll be able to go back to his home.

"In reality I feel that it's gone. The structure may still be there, but with the ordinances and the codes that they've changed because of this it's going to real, real, real hard to go back."

As people are returning home they are urged to get up to date with tetanus shots and make sure wells and tap water aren't contaminated. Clifton Jones is with FEMA. He says the most important thing is to get registered for assistance.

"Once the incident period has closed there won't be assistance available. We tell every applicant do not disqualify yourself. Make sure that you register and let us determine exactly what you qualify for because that's what assistance is for."

Even those who aren't eligible for FEMA grants might be able to get low interest loans...but not without registering. Those who are able to return to their homes have to be careful. John Thatcher with the Mid South Red Cross says it's important people completely dry out their homes.

"It's important that once you go back to a house getting the water out of there, if you have carpet you're going to have to rip it up and get it out of there, and really dry the house out. The long term implications of a mold problem can destroy a house. It can cause considerable damage."

Even as the water is dropping officials are urging residents to remain cautious around floodwaters and be wary of wildlife which might have taken refuge inside a home. As the river lowers inspectors will begin assessing homes to make sure they're safe before people can go back inside.

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