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Empty Ohio mall becomes safe haven for flash flood evacuees amid coronavirus pandemic

Published April 7, 2020

Natural disasters don’t take a break during pandemics and when one hit Licking County, Ohio a recently closed mall provided a safe haven to help save lives.

As the Newark Advocate in Newark, Ohio reported, on March 20, heavy rains caused flash flooding in Licking County washing away part of their highway and stranding many residents in their homes without power. That’s when Indian Mound Mall personnel and tenants stepped up.

Their parking lot became ground zero for search and rescue efforts and the empty mall provided safe distancing for evacuees.

“Our mission [today] changed. Most of our retailers closed through the end of the month, which is actually a blessing in disguise today. People are spread out far and wide, at least 10 feet apart. We stayed open for this very reason, to be an emergency response center,” mall General Manager Doug Berg said.

Even before the flooding, Berg and his team volunteered the mall’s parking lot as a resource for coronavirus testing and as a distribution center for food and supplies for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


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