Hundreds of volunteers help clean up muddy mess from flooding in Santa Clara
'They're just coming from all over the place to help'
"Got an email from the bishop, said go do what you can, so here we are," she said. "My heart just breaks. It's amazing what that water can do. I'm just happy to be here. I hope they would do the same for me if I was in the same situation."
Robert Lybert, from Alberta, Canada, was on vacation visiting his uncle in St. George when they heard what was happening.
"My uncle said, ''You wanna go?' and I said, 'Sure,'" said Lybert, who was caked in dried mud and trying to stay cool under southern Utah's warm sunshine. "Cause if I had this happen to me, I'd hope someone would show up, so I figured I'd show up."
Susan Broberg, a single mother of two children, said her basement was gutted. Without the help from the community, she said she doesn't know what she would have done.
"I tell ya, I've been amazed. Last night, I was just in that shocked state and I don't even know what to do. And there are people here and they just started working, and it was incredible. And today, people have been here willing to do anything. That's been amazing. I couldn't have don't anything (without them)," she said.
"I don't know why they came, they just came."
A gift of food
Local businesses donated pizza, food, water, Gatorade and other items to homeowners and volunteers. The Washington County Sheriff's Office drove around with a pickup truck of supplies to every house in the affected neighborhoods to make sure they had what they needed. Several residents said employees from Home Depot were sent into the neighborhoods at 7 a.m. to help shovel mud.
Within the first 24 hours of the disaster, Rosenberg estimated that 2,000 different people had volunteered to help, with 600 working at any given time.
Late Wednesday afternoon, dozens of Desert Hills High School students were bused to the neighborhood to offer their help. The students were members of the school's football team and the girls soccer team.
Many of the damaged homes did not have flood insurance, the mayor said. But he noted it wouldn't have mattered in most cases because the floods were in the basements. He said the city plans to initiate a private relief effort to raise funds for restoration and recovery, as it did following the floods in 2005.
Some affected homeowners were expected to be back to almost normal by the end of the week.
"In a couple of days they'll be pretty well back where they can start looking back in," Rosenberg said. "For several of ’em, it'll be weeks. And there are several (homes) that will need to be condemned and torn down."
A damage total was still being calculated Wednesday. Rosenberg said the important thing is there were no reported injuries.
As for rebidding the dike, "The city is going to have to, in my opinion. This is a retention basin that has been there since 1919, and so the town has kind of developed and grown around and below the retention basin," the mayor said.
Within the past six months, Washington County established a Flood Control Authority, he said. The group had identified 10 projects countywide to work on, with Laub Pond being one of them. The problem was figuring out how to upgrade the system and how to pay for it — something Rosenberg said would be looked at again once the mud is cleaned up.
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