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Flooding prompts Johnson County to issue ‘disaster declaration’ for first time in 15 years

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- The amount of damage caused by recent storms and flooding now has Johnson County under a disaster declaration -- the first one in 15 years.

“Devastation, basically we see everything`s covered with mud,” said Rabbi Mendy Wineberg, with the Chabad House Center of Kansas City.

“We found garbage cans floating, there was just debris everywhere,” said Esty Perman, the Assistant Director of Gan Chabad Preschool

The storms and flooding destroyed most the Chabad House Center -- a small non-profit and outreach organization.

“Everything but our morale,” Wineberg added. “Oh it was a very sick to your stomach kind of feeling, absolutely, this is a place we`ve been in for almost 30 years now, and it suddenly looks like a hurricane zone or something like that, we`ve never had anything like this the entire time we`ve been here.”

Hundreds of people are affected by this -- as the Chabad House offers services, counseling, preschool, and a food pantry, all of which are on hold until they can get this mess cleaned up.

“Anything on the floor, almost all the furniture that was sitting on the floor is damaged from the bottom up, lots and lots of toys, games,” Wineberg said.

“This is definitely setting us back a lot, the night of the flooding was actually our final night of clean-up and preparation, two of the classrooms were completely set up, and there was a cleaning crew scheduled to come in the following morning to do the final scrub down, and obviously all of that has been completely delayed,” said Perman.

The flooding was so bad, it is costing Johnson County businesses and homeowners millions of dollars. The county is asking the state and federal government for additional resources and financial assistance to help with the recovery and the costs to rebuild.

“We issued a county disaster declaration, and this is the first one we`ve done in 15 years, so that gives you an idea of how significant this storm damage was over the last few days,” said Sharon Watson, the Public Affairs and Communication Manager for Johnson County.

Now many are left wondering what to do with the items destroyed in the floods.

“Reach out to your city first, look at their website, contact them and ask them what resources they might have, a lot of them have set up sites where you can drop off storm debris,” Watson says, “The best thing to do is to check with your trash company, and ask what kind of resources they might be able to provide.”

The Chabad House says the community support has been amazing, and the Rabbi says he is extremely grateful for everyone who has come by to help clean and support them in any way.

Click this link to help with the relief efforts.

More information and resources:

Click this link for info from the Department of Health and Environment, and the web link to the info on what is “acceptable” hazardous materials items

The county’s location is 5901 Jim Bills Road, Mission, KS 66203 - Just off Foxridge Dr. and Lamar. Located within the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Plant.
City of Olathe’s location is 1420 S. Robinson Dr. Olathe, KS by appointment. More info on both is available by clicking this link.

Safety after a Flood

Mold after a Disaster:

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/mold

https://www.epa.gov/mold/floods-and-mold-growth