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Colorado Flood Response 2013

Heavy rains that began late on Thursday, September 12, have caused severe flooding and catastrophic damage across a wide swath of the Front Range of Colorado's Rocky Mountains.  Episcopal Relief & Development is working with the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado to respond.


September 19, 2013, Update #2 from Diocese of Colorado
 
"...The staff in the Office of the Bishop has been contacting clergy in affected areas, and has determined they are all safe and accounted for, although some of them have experienced some personal property damage and loss.  Clergy and other leaders continue to get in touch with their parishioners to determine their safety and immediate needs. In some places this has been much more difficult than in others. Based on initial assessments, while many church buildings have had some flooding damage, none has catastrophic damage.  
 

Several churches have already begun to reach out to those least likely have personal resources to deal with the disaster. St. Aidan’s in Boulder has already been working through their existing partnership with Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow to provide overnight shelter for the homeless in these adverse conditions. The St. Aidan’s community is also reaching out through their Canterbury ministry to University of Colorado students who suffered losses.

At St. Stephen’s in Longmont, according to the Rev. Marc Genty who lives near there, Missouri Avenue that runs in front the church became the Missouri River for a time. Foot bridges and other community structures were wiped out, but the church, which sits on a little rise, is fine. The St. Stephen’s community is reaching out to parishioners who have suffered significant property losses and finding the best way to help them.

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The Office of the Bishop has posted links to resources from Episcopal Relief & Development for helping following a disaster on their website at http://www.dioco.org/resources-for-disaster-response.html."

— Beckett Stokes, Director of Communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado


September 17, 2013, Update #1 from Diocese of Colorado

"Over the last several days, members of our staff have been working to get in touch with clergy at congregations in communities that have been affected by the catastrophic flooding that is happening around the state. All of our clergy in affected areas are safe and accounted for, although some of them have experienced some personal property damage and loss.  They have all be working to get in touch with their parishioners to determine their safety and immediate needs. In some places this has been much more difficult than in others. From what we know so far, while many church buildings have had some flooding damage, none has catastrophic damage.  

"In these days immediately following a disaster of this scope, first responders, and agencies like the Red Cross who are equipped and able to handle the needs of people who’ve been displaced, who are working to find loved ones, take care of pets and other animals, etc. are in the best position to help.  However, in coming days, churches and other organizations will have an increasingly large role to play in the long-term relief effort, and we anticipate that many of our congregations and institutions will be working in their local communities to help in the recovery in all kinds of ways.  Churches are just beginning to assess the impact of the floods, and determine what needs there are.  In coming days, they will be identifying the gaps that exist between federal assistance, assistance from community agencies  (like the Red Cross), and other organizations, and determining how we the church can fill those gaps.

"We will continue to share news as we get it. In the meantime, please continue to keep all those around our state who have been affected by these floods in your prayers, along with all the first responders and the many people who are working to clean up and repair damage."

— Beckett Stokes, Director of Communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado


September 17, 2013, Episcopal Releif & Development Working with Flood-Impacted Colorado Diocese

Episcopal Relief & Development is in contact with the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado as it assesses needs and outreach opportunities in areas impacted by severe flooding.  The situation continues to unfold across 17 counties, affecting thousands of people from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs and as far into the mountains as Boulder.  Eight people have been confirmed dead due to the floods, and more than 11,750 have been evacuated, according to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.  At least 520 people are currently in shelters, and rescue teams continue to evacuate residents in the flood zone who are stranded without utilities or access to shops for food and drinking water.

“Our disaster response always focuses on serving the most vulnerable,” said Katie Mears, Director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program.  “Because this disaster was so unexpected – flooding in high-country desert – regular disaster response mechanisms have had to be adapted to meet current needs, and of course very few had flood insurance.  We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops, keeping in mind especially non-homeowners, who are often at a disadvantage throughout the recovery process.”

Please pray for all those impacted by the Colorado floods, especially families who are grieving, and for the rescue workers and all those who are helping communities recover.

A Prayer for First Responders

Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy, who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity and the great commandment of love for one another. Send down your blessings on these your servants, who so generously devote themselves to helping others. Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary, and compassion in all their work. When the alarm sounds and they are called to aid both friend and stranger, let them faithfully serve you in their neighbor. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

— Adapted from the Book of Blessings, #587, by Diana Macalintal

To help respond to disasters in the US like the ongoing floods in Colorado, please make a contribution to the US Disaster Response Fund.