The City of Omaha may go door to door in east Omaha to make sure residents know their homes are in the path of Missouri River floodwaters should the worst happen and a levee fail.
Council Bluffs surveyed its residents last weekend and found that more than half didn’t recognize the extent of the risk or didn’t even know there was a flood threat.
The Omaha Public Works Department’s Marty Grate said Thursday that Omaha officials, sobered by those findings, would consider a door-to-door campaign so that no one is surprised if an evacuation is ordered.
Aida Amoura, spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Suttle, said that decision has not been made yet because people should already realize they are in harm’s way, and the city does not want to create undue fear.
Amoura said the city’s daily press briefings and its website have provided notice to residents.
“We’ve been telling people. I don’t think there is anyone unaware that there is a flooding situation along the Missouri River,” Amoura said.
The city has met with some neighborhood groups and is meeting with downtown businesses and east Omaha industries about the flood risk, Amoura said.
Based on the 2000 Census, Omaha estimates that 2,700 people live in neighborhoods that could flood should a levee break.
In Council Bluffs, officials said an estimated 30,000 people are in a similar predicament. The Bluffs on Wednesday issued a “Level 1” alert status, which signifies a slowly developing flood situation for which preparations are prudent.
Omaha doesn’t have a similar name for its current flood status. But the conditions are the same. Affected Omahans already should be preparing for the potential need to evacuate, city officials said.
For those in the metro area who have begun such preparations, they have involved locating and consolidating important personal papers, moving family heirlooms to higher ground and identifying a post-evacuation meeting site.
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