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Northland Residents Look To Post-Flood Future

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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WILLOW RIVER, Minn. (WCCO) – People dealing with damage from the Northland flooding are starting to get a sense for the amount of work and money it will take to recover.

This week a major federal disaster declaration was issued for 13 counties in Minnesota, with the damage estimate reaching $108 million.

This weekend, disaster recovery centers opened in three locations up north to help people get the assistance they need: in Duluth, Barnum, and Willow River.

Jenny Kane with emergency management is working with people in Willow River.

“It’s been very difficult. It came so fast, they felt like they weren’t prepared,” she said.

In the two days since the disaster recovery center’s been open at the high school, more than a hundred people have showed up for help.

Jenny says only two have flood insurance.

Billy and Tammy Dochniak are in the majority, and they’re faced with starting the dream they worked so hard to achieve all over again.

“Time and effort we put into this for 20 years, nickel and diming it, getting it real nice,” says Billy. “We finally got to a place where we didn’t need to spend any more; we could come up here and invite friends.”

Tammy says all of the work and money they put into their summer cabin on Long Lake is a wash. The floors, the walls, and their furniture are all ruined and they’re worried about mold.

Their summer at the lake with their kids will be far from a vacation.

“We have to have the mindset that we’re gonna work the entire summer so we can come up next year and try it again,” says Tammy.

The Dochniaks aren’t expecting much help with repairs and have no idea how much it cost or if their home will be a loss. But say there’s no way they’re giving up.

“It took me a long time to build it, it will take a long time to rebuild, weekend by weekend, that’s all you can do,” says Billy.

The Dochniaks are hopeful they may get some money from FEMA, but they aren’t counting on it.

FEMA will start its assessments of homes and property this week and folks should soon have a better idea if they qualify for help and how much.

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