PERU, NE – Community members, Peru State students, faculty and staff filled sandbags during the day Friday as the Missouri River continues to rise.
More than 120 students and a total of 160 volunteers contributed to the effort.
“We were just sandbagging to protect the public water system,” Peru mayor Darrin Reaves said. “We had over 160 volunteers from both the city and the college.”
The City of Peru declared a state of emergency Thursday evening as flooding along the Missouri River reached record levels.
The Missouri is forecast to crest just under 30 feet by Saturday evening before falling below flood stage Sunday.
Some evacuations have occurred, and the levee could be overtopped sometime this weekend.
The city advised the community that sandbags would be necessary to protect key components of the city’s water supply, so as the water wouldn’t become contaminated.
Sandbags were used to protect the water treatment plant, a lift station and a well in Peru.
Nemaha County Emergency Management was on hand to help direct the project in partnership with the City of Peru.
Reeves said that more than 8,000 sandbags were filled.
There weren’t many evacuations, but one man, Jeffrey Bestwick, was forced out of his home on the Peru bottoms.
Water seeped into his home, and he was worried about his furniture. The Peru State football team caught wind – and helped out.
“They were helping the city fill sandbags,” Bestwick said, “and I asked them if they’d volunteer a little time to help me move some personal things and they all volunteered. I think it’s really good for the community to come together like they have today.”
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