Update: Over 150 people rescued from floodwaters, 300 displaced

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Emergency responders work together to help recover Manhattan residents stranded by flood waters on Labor Day. Manhattan saw what might be historic levels of rainfall, leading to flash flooding in spots across the area. (Alex Shaw | Collegian Media Group)

Update, 2:15 p.m.: The Manhattan Fire Department said over 150 people were rescued from floodwaters as of Monday afternoon, in addition to 24 pets.

Original story:

For many Manhattan citizens, Monday’s flash flooding only dampened what would have been their normal Labor Day plans. For about 300 others — like student Beth Obesky — Monday’s flooding would prove to be perhaps one of the most stressful points in their lives to date.

About 300 people were displaced from their homes due to flooding Monday morning, the Riley County Police Department said in a release. No injuries had been reported, but emergency responders worked through Monday to rescue stranded citizens and pets from their flooded homes and apartments in spots across the city.

Obesky, senior in human development, was at her first-floor apartment at the Evergreen Apartment complex in west Manhattan when a police officer pounded on her door around 7:30 a.m. Obesky says the officer told her she had to leave and would only let her grab her cat before leaving.

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Emergency officials wait alongside a flooded area near Evergreen Apartments on Labor Day. About 300 people were displaced, and emergency responders worked through the day to rescue stranded citizens. (Alex Shaw | Collegian Media Group)

With all of her family out-of-state, she said she’d mostly be relying on her friends for help after having lost what she thinks is most, if not all, of her possessions.

“I’ve never lost all of my stuff in one day,” Obesky said. “I could see that the water was up to my windows, so I don’t think anything is going to be salvageable.”

Obesky was at the K-State Student Union on Monday afternoon, where employees with the Office of Student Life have set up an assistance center for students displaced by flooding. The workers said they would be available for students until 7 p.m. Monday, with further assistance available in their regular office in 201 Holton Hall starting Tuesday.

As of Monday afternoon, there was not yet any word on how many students may have been displaced by the flood waters. At the K-State Student Union, vice president of student life and dean of students Pat Bosco waited for any such students after the university put out a call on social media offering the university’s assistance to any affected students.

He said Obesky had been the first student to come to the Union, but more may came as the days goes on. Only a handful of other students also trickled to the Student Life workers as of Monday afternoon, although some students may be out-of-town for the holiday weekend and return to flooded apartments or homes, Bosco speculated.

He said he’s tapped into a discretionary emergency fund —funded by private donations— to both coordinate and directly help students in his office’s assistance efforts.

Larry Moeder, director of student financial assistance, was at the Union Monday afternoon, helping students apply for emergency, interest-free loans from the university.

Heather Reed, senior associate dean and director of student life, said the university is helping displaced students with temporary housing in the Jardine Apartment complex while more permanent shelter is found.

In the city, emergency responders have been directing displaced residents to an emergency evacuation shelter at Pottorf Hall on 1710 Avery. There was also not yet any indication as to how many homes may have been affected by floodwaters.

A Facebook Crisis Response page was set up so that students and residents of Manhattan could mark themselves safe. You can find that page here.

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First responders bring Michael Rasmussen and his dog Leo out of flooded waters near the Evergreen Apartments complex on Garden Way south of Anderson on Monday morning. Severe rainfall across the city drenched many streets and stranded several Manhattan residents. (Rafael Garcia | Collegian Media Group)
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Rafael Garcia
I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a senior in journalism and news editor for the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email me at rgarcia@kstatecollegian.com.