More than seven months after an historic flood in northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, caseworkers are finding a sort of "post-traumatic flood syndrome."
Although northern Wisconsin wasn't hit as hard as Minnesota, the flood damaged some 300 homes in Douglas County. Lots of the repairs are still going on, but even as organizations try to get financial help to these people, there's another problem: stress. Long-term Recovery Committee chair Jodi Slick says caseworkers are coming back with stories of trauma left by a dozen inches of rain that fell the night of June 20th. "It could be everywhere: from the seven year-old kid who ends up — every time it rains — waking mom and dad to go check the basement, to hearing pretty much the exact same story from a 94-year-old who can't sleep when it rains."
Father Leon Flaherty heads the Douglas County Long-Term Recovery Committee. He's been hearing about people feeling overwhelmed. "They thought they could handle it and then all of a sudden they find out they can't. And some of them are single mothers with children. There's medical issues involved and it starts to pile up and it gets to be too much at one time."
Flaherty also belongs to the Superior Ministerial Association. He says churches are considering forming a trauma response committee. That's needed, says Slick. "One message that we'd like to get out there is, it isn't over."
Slick says a program by Lutheran Social Services counsels children scared by the flood. It's called, appropriately enough, "Camp Noah."