Heavy rainfalls early last month caused the Mississippi River and its tributaries to overflow, flooding large areas in the Upper Midwest, causing widespread damage in cities and towns in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
In Iowa, the most inundated town was the second largest city of Cedar Rapids. Much of the town was submerged by the Cedar River, which crested nearly seven meters above flood levels. Some 4,000 families had to be evacuated, including Ane Lovan's. Interviewed by phone from his damaged house in downtown Cedar Rapids, where he returned to clean up on Wednesday, Ane said authorities issued a flood warning two days earlier but he did not take it seriously, hoping that his house would be spared like in the 1993 floods.
Even though he had sent his four children to stay with relatives, Ane and his wife remained athome and did not remove any of their belongings. Thursday morning, June 12, he and his wife Soumaly went to work as usual at the Armana-Whirlpool factory where they are employed. The factory let all employees out after half a day. The Lovans went home to see whether the flood had reached their house but police stopped them about 2-3 blocks away, and they were not able to return until five days later to see the damage.
Ane said even though his two-storied house was five feet above street level, flood water came up to five inches above the first level floor, submerging his basement and leaving mud up to his knees after the water receded. He lost everything in the basement which included two bedrooms for his sons, and had to get rid of pretty much everything on the first floor - furnitures, appliances, etc... He expects it will take him a whole month to renovate his house before the family can return to live in it.
Listen to Ane Lovan interview for more details in Lao.