Flooding response efforts continue on Minnesota border

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 8:45 PM CDT
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INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN. (KBJR 6) --From I-Falls to Kabetogama, the National Guard has now joined community members in far northern Minnesota, working to fend off record flooding along the Rainy River basin.

On Thursday, Governor Tim Walz enacted the Minnesota National Guard to respond to flooding near the Minnesota and Canada Border.

From the National Guard to the Red Cross, the people of International Falls are finally getting the help they’ve been asking for.

“We can use all the help we can get,” said First Lieutenant Samuel Aiken. “It’s long days, but it’s very rewarding work knowing you are helping the community, it’s humbling.”

Aiken is part of the 45-person response team from the Minnesota National Guard, helping the community sandbag.

“You’re actually serving your state and you don’t get to do that in a lot of military experiences, so it’s a very nice time to actually be up here supporting them,” Aiken said.

He said the efforts seem to be paying off.

“We’ve been kind of driving around checking out some of the properties and it’s working, the sandbags are working,” Aiken said. “We just need as many as we can get.”

The guard isn’t the only source of support for International Falls.

“During relief operations, every agency does its part and their thing that they specialize,” said Owen Fifield, a Disaster Program Manager for the Red Cross.

The Red Cross is there, providing everything from snacks to first aid.

“We’re constantly monitoring the water levels and seeing where we’re possibly going to be needed and trying to anticipate what those services are going to look like,” Fifield said.

He said whether it’s the guard, the Red Cross, or members of the community, every helping hand is needed.

“You have to hold down your day job, and then you also have to support the sandbagging, and that’s tough and that energy can only go so far and once it runs out, those people need replacements,” Fifield said.

The Minnesota National Guard will continue helping with flood efforts there through June 10, 2022, unless the waters subside before then.

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