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WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 16, 2011, 10:55 PM

Floodwaters Hit Belcourt, ND, Early

Citizens spend night, day filling sandbags to stop floodwaters
Lots of people in Belcourt went sleepless Tuesday night, as Fish Lake overflowed, just a few miles to the north. Most people never thought they'd have to sandbag again.

Lots of people in Belcourt went sleepless Tuesday night, as they fought off floodwaters from Fish Lake, just a few miles to the north.

Most people never thought they'd have to sandbag again.

Now, they're not sure when they'll be able to stop.

Fire fighters from Belcourt, Rolla and Rolette, Belcourt High School and Turtle Mountain Community College students, and hundreds of others from Belcourt and the Turtle Mountain Reservation spent Tuesday night and most of Wednesday filling sandbags, working to stop the flowing creek.

Around 10 p.m., water started running from the Little Shell Dam over the spillway after several days of warmer weather.

The rapid release has plugged culverts and damaged roads.

"It's probably gone down a couple of inches in the spill way, but its gushing so the water's still moving pretty fast and its still pretty deep," said Anita Blue, Tribal Emergency Manager.

The water came on so quickly that it was inches from flooding the Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Hospital.

"Our dialysis center did take on some water. It had to be clean out and evacuated for the reason that it has to be a clean environment," said Blue.

The dialysis machines have been taken to Trinity Hospital in Minot, which means the patients have to travel about two hours to receive a three-hour treatment and then travel home again.

The time-consuming process leaves many people with an uneasy feeling.

The seven dialysis machines cost nearly $20,000 a piece and are used by 24 patients.

People in Belcourt know this is just the beginning of their flood season and are preparing for the worst.

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