Next comes caring for the people displaced by the storm, and there are legions of them, their homes made unlivable by flooding. In some cases, it may be days more before many flooded-out homes are even accessible for a damage assessment.
That is current top priority here, and as it was with the rescue phase, the effort is being coordinated well by government and nonprofit agencies working together. Federal, state and local officials have worked around the clock, as have the
The next step may be the most daunting of all: recovery. There are roads, bridges and dams to rebuild, railroad lines to repair. Thousands of houses and apartments need extensive renovation to be habitable. Armies of insurance adjusters are on their way to flood-stricken areas, to assess the damage and help home and business owners file claims and get repairs underway.
It's not too early to warn that there are armies of building contractors on their way here too, to work on repair and restoration projects. Before you hire anyone, make sure to verify their credentials and be wary about requests for large down payments. There will be scams.
While all this is going on, there is another urgent job for federal and state officials as well: Get our economy back on its feet. Thousands of flood victims joined the ranks of the unemployed, and in many cases don't have a workplace to return to.
State and federal aid for businesses and workers is essential. Earlier this week, state Rep.
A special legislative session in 1999 appropriated more than
Helping people rebuild and the economy recover are the state's most important jobs from here on.
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