Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Flood Recovery Update: May 2014

In September 2013,  widespread flooding affected 24 counties and damaged more than 16,700 homes. The Red Cross responded immediately and provided shelter, food, emotional support, health services and relief supplies in the days and weeks following the floods. Our work has continued without pause over the past nine months, transitioning from response to long-term recovery.

Disasters of such immense magnitude can take years to recover from and result in complex needs that develop over time. The Red Cross continues to help residents affected by the floods – listening to their needs and providing assistance for expenses like mold remediation, furniture replacement, water tanks so they can have clean water, and gas cards to defray the cost of re-routing travel due to damaged roads.

Investing in local solutions for long-term strength
In addition to helping individual families, the Red Cross is supporting recovery at the community level and working to strengthen flood-affected towns and neighborhoods so that they’re more resilient in the face of future disasters.

We’re doing this by collaborating with local community members and investing in local projects and programs. We supply grassroots efforts with support and tools to help them implement the solutions that are right for their neighborhoods.

"The role of the Red Cross in disaster recovery is intensely collaborative. Whenever possible, we seek to support local partners on the ground,” said Sabrina Amon, Recovery Manager for the Red Cross of Colorado. “We trust locals’ knowledge.  They’re not asking us to do the work for them; they just want the information and the tools to do the job,” Amon explained.

The Red Cross is providing funding and supplies for many small, local projects and groups in flood-affected communities. This not only helps meet today’s needs, but helps strengthen local residents’ ability to withstand future disasters and recover more quickly afterwards – particularly in places that may become cut-off during disasters.

For example, an existing Boulder County ATV club helped deliver goods to people who were isolated by washed-out roads after September’s floods; Rocky Mountain Assist has played a critical role in Glen Haven’s recovery since the floods, with material and financial support from the Red Cross.

Some of the local groups that have received Red Cross support include:
•    Lyons Volunteers
•    Saws and Slaws
•    Rocky Mountain Assist
•    Little Thompson River Coalition
•    Blue Mountain River Coalition
•    Various volunteer fire departments
•    County long-term recovery groups

Investing in local efforts builds capacity so that the communities we help are stronger, more self-sufficient and less reliant on outside agencies; as local residents take charge of their recovery and plan for the future, they are forming relationships and networks, gaining hands-on experience, and building the foundation of a community that is prepared for whatever may come next.  In short, they are empowered and in charge of their future.

Help that is flexible and Responsive
The Red Cross has committed to spending all designated flood donations to help with flood response and recovery;  how we spend those dollars is flexible and responsive to Coloradans’ changing needs. We listen and respond to needs, contributing to a myriad of requests that will fill gaps not being met by other agencies or funding pools.

The American Red Cross has spent or made commitments to spend approximately $7.6 million, as of May 19, on emergency response and recovery efforts for 2013 Colorado floods. That amount includes:
  • The disaster response and relief costs of providing food, shelter, blankets, costs, emotional support, health services, relief supplies, casework and direct financial assistance.
  • Recovery costs and commitments including direct financial assistance to individuals as well as suport for community recovery projects.
  • It also includes less visible costs that make relief possible, such as logistics, staff and technology expenses.
This is nearly 94 percent of the approximately $8.1 million in designated donations and pledges to the Red Cross for the Colorado floods as of May 19.
The Red Cross will continue to honor donor intent, and donations that we received that are designated for the flooding will be applied to our work in Colorado.

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