Flood Victims Shelter in Camper, Awaiting Decision to Rebuild in Flood

FREMONT COUNTY, Iowa -- Since flood waters completely covered their home in March, Ed and Frances Jensen have been living in a camper in a state park. The water ruined the inside of their home and the contents.

Recently, a Baptist disaster relief group from Oklahoma came and got all the flood debris from their home and stripped the drywall down to the studs.

The couple was camping well before Iowa weather warmed to what some would consider camping season.

“It was pretty chilly there. Couple nights we got a little electric heater we use in the camper, “ said Ed Jensen. “I’m going to go day by day, so we can do just live here and go do what we need to do, go over the house and do what we can do over there, life goes on.”

The couple seems content for now with the much smaller living space than they are used to.

“We’re not campers by no means, but it’s a place to say it’s a roof over our heads,” said Frances. “Rental property is so hard in this area because everybody’s displaced.”

Now they wrestle with the idea of going back and rebuilding their house. That’s a decision that can wait until June, with concern for more possible flooding coming downriver.

“Do we want to go back in there and get flooded again, I’m afraid the water’s going to come back because they’re still letting water out of the dam up north and all that snow melt,” said Ed. “It’s going to come down the Platte and down the Missouri again, and we’ll be right back in the same boat we’re in.”

Frances has also been battling health issues, so another flood would not be good for her.

“We never used to get those floods, you know once every few years, ten years, we’d get a little water,” said Ed. “We never used to get those high floods like we’re getting now. Something needs to be changed on the river.”

Their home is in the unincorporated town of McPaul. That’s located off Interstate 29 west of Thurman. Interstate 29 access is still closed due to flood waters.

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