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Comanche Nation prepares for more flooding

MEDICINE PARK, Okla._The Comanche Nation and local emergency management departments are preparing for more flooding over the next few days.

Since the tribe declared a State of Emergency Wednesday, they have filled about 4,500 sandbags to help protect homes and businesses from rising water. Tribal workers and volunteers are taking the sandbags to flood prone regions in the seven-county area they serve in Southwest Oklahoma.

So far, there have been no mandatory evacuations, but some people have decided to leave their homes on their own.

"I mean it is pretty emotional. It has been an emotional week or so out here because you just don't know what it is going to do exactly," said Carol Stayer, a woman who lives near Medicine Creek.

Stayer and her husband have lived on the bank of Medicine Creek for more than 15 years. She says the Comanche Nation called her this week to ask if she needed help. Thursday afternoon, the Comanche Fire Department delivered 35 sandbags to her house.

"It's always a ‘working together' thing. This is a neighborly thing, it's not necessarily a tribal thing. They may have had tribal fire t-shirts and stuff on but it's a neighbor thing," said Stayer.

Comanche Nation Vice Chairman Mack Mahsetky says they are working with emergency management to prevent flooding by going to houses along creeks, like East Cache Creek and Medicine Creek, to help those people protect their property.

"Some flooding up to people's doors that had not made it into the house yet, so we were able to stop that right now. I know there were a couple of people that had to walk on milk crates to get to their front door from where they parked their car and just concentration on that," said Mahsetky.

Stayer says the possibility of the creek flooding its banks is something she knows all too well.

"In 2000, we flooded. And 2007 were wet years, it came up to the back door. It just depends on where gets the rain," said Stayer.

Stayer says they start to worry when the water from Medicine Creek starts to hit a nearby tree.

"You just become aware of when you live with nature you become aware and so you know that it hits a certain rock you start watching it. Once it gets past that rock you watch the tree and for this particular tree that is when we start putting that high dollar stuff up," said Stayer.

Stayer says when things like flooding happens, it reminds you of what's important in life. When people ask if she would ever move away, she says she wouldn't change a thing. She likes it right where she is.

"So, we can prep for this a little and you get neighbors that help you. In towns you don't even know your neighbors half the time, so I wouldn't change it. Well I'd like a little less rain right now, but I prayed for this and got it," said Stayer.

The Comanche Nation and emergency management officials will monitor the weather throughout the weekend. If you need help, you can call the flood hotline 24 hours a day at 580-492-3628.

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