Lansing residents evacuated after historic floods

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A State of Emergency was declared this week by Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes after several street closures and resident evacuations.

Those living in Urbandale, Sycamore Park, Knollwood Willow, Baker, Cherry Hill, Riverpoint, Tecumseh River and Ravenswood neighborhoods were all encouraged to temporarily leave their home. Michael Tobin, Lansing Emergency Management Division Chief, said that volunteers were sent out Wednesday evening to go door to door and  alert residents.

“What we’re really gearing up for now is the floods from the Red Cedar River and the Grand River,” Tobin said. “When the water hits crest levels, it can take a few days minimum for the water to recede.”

The Mid-Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross set up a shelter at Letts Community Center for residents who have been temporarily displaced. Beth Philo is the co-shelter manager at the center and said the Red Cross volunteers are here to help the community.

“The Red Cross shelter is set up anyone who does not have a place to go and need a roof over their head,” said Philo. “We know that people don’t like coming to a shelter, but we are here to keep them dry, keep them warm, safe and feed them.”

Philo said Letts can hold up to 120 people, but if there is a need for more shelter, there are two other locations that will open. There is also space available at Ingham County Animal Control for residents’ pets to stay while they are at the shelter.

“We will be here until the flooding goes down and people are able to get back into their homes,” said Philo.

There are opportunities for those who want to help their neighbors affected by the floods. According to the City of Lansing website, people can donate goods at the Lansing Goodwill, call the Red Cross to donate money, or volunteer their time for response and recovery throughout the Lansing area. Melody Bennett, who has volunteered with the Red Cross for 10 years, said  volunteering during times of crisis can feel rewarding.

“I am not a person who can sit back and watch things happen when I know I can help,” said Bennett. “So when I see a need I like to go fill that need.”

River levels are expected to continue rising through Friday. For more information, Lansing residents can check for updates and sign up for text or email alerts.