Interview With Deaf Nebraska Flooding Survivor


The city of Fremont, Nebraska, just endured one of the most severe flooding in the area. The Daily Moth reached out to one of the deaf survivors who lives in Fremont. This individual’s name is Debbie Ross-Devore. The both of us tried to meet in person for an interview, but we were unable to because the city of Fremont is still flooded. I will show you a few videos. I went to a location near Fremont. It’s one of several places affected by the flooding.

Hello, I am now about 10 miles away from Fremont, Nebraska. It’s one of the locations that has been flooded. I planned on interviewing Debbie in person, but I can’t. All the roads have been blocked. Fremont is actually surrounded by water so it’s almost like an island now. Whew. I’m 10 miles away and I already can see water all over the place. Can you see it over there? These are houses over there and they’re completely surrounded by water.

Some of the other areas near Fremont have also been plowed by the floodwater. This one of these areas. It seems that the water level has receded a little bit here. You can see the aftereffects of the flooding over there. This is a farm over there.

Look at that, it’s a semi-truck. I can see the corn stalks carried away by the water and has gotten stuck onto the truck right there.

This is Arlington, Nebraska. It’s one of the cities also affected by the floodings. Arlington is 20 miles away from Fremont. I can see bodies of water across the land over there.

See these different areas and how badly flooded they are? Since Debbie and I couldn’t meet in person, we decided to interview via videoconferencing. The first thing I asked Debbie was for her to explain what happened.

When I went to bed, there was no warning and I didn’t see the news. I had no idea what was going to happen. I thought my husband would watch the news, but he didn’t. We went to bed. Later, I would guess...actually I don’t know the exact time. It was maybe 11:30 to midnight. I don’t know the exact time. What happened was after I had gone to the bathroom, I went back to bed when suddenly, there were sirens, flashing lights and firemen all over the place. This woke me up and I didn’t know what was going on. I was curious so I open the window blinds. I thought this was something I shouldn’t be bothered with. I thought maybe someone just got hurt or there was a fire. I don’t know. I just ignored the ruckus and thought I’d better check on my dog and see if it needed to go outside to pee. I went back to check on and wondered where everyone was going. I saw a firetruck go whizzing by. I just ignore this and went to let the dog out. I told my dog to go out, but my dog just barked and barked which confused me. I did notice these firetrucks whizzing by, but I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I decided to not let it bother me. I beckoned my dog to come back inside and to go back to sleep. I fell fast asleep until my husband heard our dog barking frantically. It was LOUD, very LOUD. Then my doorbell alarm went off. This made me wake up. We ran to the door and opened it. Behind the door was the sheriff who stopped us and told us to GET OUT NOW. We were stunned, in SHOCK. We immediately got dressed in hurry then my husband decided to check the basement. He immediately tried to bring out as much as furniture as possible, but it was a massive failure. We couldn’t save all of it. Only half of them were saved. Some of them had to be left behind because we couldn’t lift them out. They were too heavy because they were soaked wet. We left behind the rug, but the chair, table and valuables like pictures, we got them out. Even then, we still had to leave behind some of the pictures like our wedding photos which was very disappointing. My wedding pictures are still there in the basement and I’m sure they’re soaking wet by now. Other things like board games seem to be lost forever. Not worth the effort.

I asked her, while evacuating on such a short notice, what did she take with her?

The sheriff told us to get out immediately. We begged him to give us more time. We had such a HARD time finding our cat. We looked and looked, but our cat is SMART. She cleverly found a place to hide. We searched relentlessly until we found our cat. We tried to bring it with us, but it was TERRIFIED. We had already put our dog in my car so it would be one less thing to worry about as we rushed to evacuate. We then became completely overwhelmed and left the house. We brought our dog and cat here. The next day, we went back to our house to check on it. Wow. It was so messy especially in the basement. It was completely flooded. We decided to look outside of the house and the sight stunned us. The whole area was surrounded with floodwater. It’s a sad day for all of us. We’ve been checking on everything, but it’s very cold now. My house is freezing because there is no heat. It’s been turned off. We took several things with us and decided to forget about other stuff. It’s too overwhelming for us. It was just very shocking to us.

I asked her about what was the next step for her now.

DEBBIE: (Chuckling)
I don’t know what our plan is now, but Ross said that when the floodwater goes down, we need to go over to another city and find someone to help us or something. We’ll come back, but after that, I don’t know.

I don’t know what to do.

I asked her if she wanted to make any final comments before our session ended.

I want to thank the sheriff who stopped by our house and also, my dog who relentlessly barked. My dog is exhausted. He’s sleeping over there now. He’s so sleepy.

My dog, wow, is VERY smart and is so protective of me. Wow, very smart.

I want to thank Debbie for sharing her story. Hopefully the floodwater will recede soon.