The Vissers will meet with World Renew DRS Area Representatives Walt and Carol Ackerman, who live in the area and have been monitoring the flooding and rescue efforts as they unfold.
Many homeowners have been stranded by washed-out roads, and the town of Lyons was entirely evacuated this week, a total of about 7,000 residents. Search teams are going house to house looking for survivors. Eight people are reported to have died in the flood and others are still missing.
World Renew DRS representatives are coordinating with Volunteers in Action in Denver and other non-profit organizations, Christian Reformed and Reformed churches in northeastern Colorado, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reach homeowners who will experience the most need in recovering from the disaster.
A World Renew DRS Rapid Response Team may also be sent into the area to help with initial clean up and debris removal as soon as it is possible to access flooded homes. One of the worst hit towns is Longmont, where the Vrain River spread out over the most populated area. The Big Thompson River, one of the area’s major waterways, was ten feet higher last weekend than the historic flooding that affected the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in 1976.
“The flood seems to be receding as the heavy water moves northeast along the South Platt River towards Nebraska,” Walt Ackerman said yesterday. “The Platt crested at Crook, Colorado, and then later today it crested at Julesberg and has now left for Nebraska.” The water coming down from the mountains has decreased as well, the couple notes, exposing the extent of the damage to roads and bridges across the area.
“Getting anywhere is very difficult, and getting utilities back in operation will be another major problem,” Ackerman says. “In addition, many locations that were recently affected by massive wildfires in the state are now subject to mud and landslides in the burn areas.”
Director Bill Adams says that World Renew DRS staff has been in contact with Christian Reformed and Reformed churches in the flood area. “Greeley CRC and Journey Church in Longmont are not flooded, but Crestview CRC has some minor property damage. We’re grateful that these facilities have been spared, but we also know that members of these churches and their families have been evacuated because their homes are under water.”
This week, Early Response Coordinators Fred and Mary Visser will begin to assess the damage in some of the areas hardest-hit by the flooding to help determine the extent of the need among low-income, elderly, disabled, and uninsured residents and begin to define World Renew’s further response.
To see a map of conditions in the flood area from Google Maps, click here: http://google.org/crisismap/2013-boulder-floods.
You can help families affected by the Colorado floods through World Renew. Please click the button on the top right corner of this page and designate your gift “Colorado Floods 2013.”
Photo: Hanna HiHanna Hinseth walks through ankle deep water to get to her home to inspect the extent of damage after heavy rains caused severe flooding in Boulder, Colorado September 12, 2013. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell