University of Nebraska launches flood recovery efforts
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska system is taking steps to help people deal with historic flooding across the state, such as connecting residents with resources and offering financial assistance to students and staff.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is coordinating mobile water-testing units, resource open houses showcasing agencies offering recovery aid, and volunteer reception centers, the Lincoln Journal Star reported
“These volunteer reception centers are so important, because we need to know what their skills are, what they can do, we need to understand how they can contribute,” said Chuck Hibberd, the dean of Nebraska Extension. “We need to ensure they are upstanding individuals, because the people who can prey on victims are out there.”
Early estimates indicate the March blizzard and subsequent flooding caused nearly $1.4 billion in damage to property, farm operations and infrastructure in Nebraska. The flooding inundated multiple states in the Midwest.
March runoff in the upper Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, reached 11 million acre feet — nearly 4 million acre feet more than the previous record of 7.3 million set in 1952, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The average March upper basin runoff is 2.9 million acre feet, the Corps said.
“We’re not getting out of this anytime soon, folks,” Hibberd said. “That’s why I think the university has an opportunity to put in a thoughtful, coordinated, systemwide effort to help Nebraska deal with this flood.”
UNL is adjusting some financial requirements for students facing hardship because of the flood, such as waiving application fees or deferring enrollment deposits, said Chancellor Ronnie Green.
“If covering the cost of your education is a significant challenge, we will work with you to find the best financial options available,” Green said.
The university is also working with students who will need to postpone moving to Lincoln to begin classes.
“There are students that are not going to be able to come this fall because of this,” Hibberd said, “and to defer their admission and scholarship offers until spring is just huge for those folks.”
The University of Nebraska Foundation has launched an emergency assistance fund for students and employees.
The Nebraska Extension has also compiled information from a number of resources to aid people with flood recovery.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com