Officials estimate 36,000 Iowans have been forced from their homes this month because of flooding. By this weekend, 18 shelters were set up around the state with another 16 ready to be activated, if needed. But few flood victims are using those shelters.
Those 18 temporary shelters around the state were home to just 472 people Saturday night. "In Iowa, we have a history of people sheltering themselves — living with relatives, going to hotels and motels," says Iowa Homeland Security administrator David Miller.
Up to 30,000 residents of Cedar Rapids were forced out of their homes by the flooding Cedar River. Over 250 homes and businesses in a neighborhood north of downtown Des Moines were flooded out early Saturday morning. Other evacuations have occurred recently in areas of Iowa City, Coralville, Columbus Junction, Ottumwa and elsewhere in eastern and southeast Iowa.