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Berrien County gearing up for widespread flood recovery

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. --- Various agencies met Sunday to discuss next steps in cleaning up flood areas in Southwest Michigan.

The Berrien County Sherriff’s Office, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, American Red Cross, Berrien County Health Department, and American Electric Power are leading clean up in Niles and surround areas.

“The folks affected by this disaster certainly hit home with us,” said Brian Bergsma, American Electric Power. “These are our neighbors, our friends, and we certainly take this situation very, very seriously.”

Starting Monday, disaster aid is being put into action. The following will take place:

  • There will be free cleaning kits given out by the American Red Cross.
  • Damage assessment teams will go house-to-house to inspect flood damaged homes.
  • The health department will monitor local wells, as water sources may have been contaminated.
  • Some homes will have power put back on after being disconnected by AEP for safety.
  • Low income families will be able to apply for money granted by the state to pay for repairs, restorations, or relocations.
  • Berrien Springs Middle School will continue to take in flood victims who need shelter.

The City of Niles reported on Thursday that 48 homes were damaged by flood waters. AEP said more than 600 homes in Berrien and St. Joseph counties are currently without power.

The health department said there haven’t been reports of any water borne illnesses, but to continue using good hygiene while cleaning homes. The department also advises that if your water source came in contact with flood water to minimize use until the water has receded fully.

“We need to make sure that this is done in a very methodical and safe process,” Bergsma said.

Click here for more resources available for flood victims.

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