By Associated Press - Sunday, December 8, 2019

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - Military veterans are demolishing homes in the Mississippi Delta that were damaged by months of flooding.

Volunteers from an organization called Team Rubicon started working Wednesday in the Eagle Lake area north of Vicksburg, where the Yazoo backwater flood began in February and finally receded in August.

“These are homes that are beyond repair and that pose a risk if they were to remain,” Warren County Emergency Management Agency director John Elfer told the county’s supervisors on Dec. 2, according to the Vicksburg Post. “Team Rubicon is on the ground and is demolishing these homes for free.”

Elfer said Team Rubicon volunteers helped residents clean out homes in August, and the new crews are scheduled to work two weeks demolishing damaged homes.

“Homeowners had homes that needed to be demolished. A vast majority didn’t have the means to do it or weren’t insured for the flooding and these homes would’ve just sat for years,” Rubicon’s Michael Martel told the newspaper as his crew worked to demolish a home in the Eagle Lake community Wednesday. “It gave us an opportunity to come in and provide our services for free and help these homeowners get a fresh start on some of this property.”

Case Construction Equipment, a sponsor of Team Rubicon, has donated the needed equipment.

Team members are being housed at a fire station, with meals being donated by the community.

Warren County will haul away debris from the home sites. Supervisors will seek bids on hauling services to provide roll-off containers in the areas of the demolition. These roll-offs, which hold the same about of debris as five to six dump trucks, will give county crews the chance to pick up without having to make multiple trips from the Eagle Lake community to the county landfill.

Team Rubicon is an international nonprofit disaster response organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams, free of charge, to communities affected by disasters. Team Rubicon currently maintains a roster of more than 65,000 volunteers.

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