Flood Victims' Dilemma, Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

The flood waters have long since receded, but many of those closely affected are still trying to get back into their homes.

The entire town of Percival, Iowa was under water for four months and it sits two miles from the Missouri River.

The entire town is facing a dilemma, rebuild or just call it quits.

Some in Percival have already made the decision to leave, even taking the house with them.

Others are making a determined effort to stave off any future flooding.

Phyllis Layman has lived here for nearly 50 years.

Flood waters wiped out her husband's upholstering business.

"I would walk out here and cry," she said.

The garage where the business was housed was an entire loss.

The Laymans still can't live in their home.

There's no heat or running water.

Phyllis never thought this could happen to them.

"It was horrible," she said. 'I don't think it should have ever happened but it did."

Everyone was thinking the same thing as flood waters continued to rise.

"A lot of people said there will be no more Percival and when this happened I said if water gets in our house, we will not go back," she said.

Across the street, Charlie Bohlen of Bohlen's Farm Service was also fearing the worst.

"We stayed until water started running over my feet basically and then it just became a long waiting period," he said.

Water engulfed his entire business.

"Unless we'd get some kind of help, we are finished," he said.

That help came from a surprising source.

"This disaster turned into a blessing by getting involved in the fuel contract for furnishing fuel for the levee repairs," he said.

Charlie is fueling the machinery that is fixing the levee. That unexpected financial windfall is also helping him repair his damaged business.

Meanwhile, Phyllis also got some unexpected help from a church group that pulled out waterlogged wallboard in her garage.

Even though there's a long road ahead, she's making good on a promise to stay.

'They're not running us out," she said. "This is our home. It's home.
It will be better. The Good Lord tells me it will be better."

Phil Peters lives just a short distance from the river, and his life's work has been washed away. Inside his home, about a foot of sand and silt covers the floor. Some areas the sand can be pushed around while in others it's become cement from the bottom of the river.

"Nobody wants to step up and accept responsibility. This isn't Mother Nature this is man made. Mother Nature doesn't create a 4 months flood, but yet nobody takes responsibility," Peters explained.

The addition that Peters built on the back of his home has been sucked in a sinkhole and continues to drift down.

We're told about half of the town's roughly 100 residents will not return to Percival.

The unincorporated town has also seen property values cut nearly in half since last year due to flood damage.


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