Comments Off on Catholic Charities prepares long-term aid for Colo. flood victims
Denver, Colo., Sep 17, 2013 / 03:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic relief agencies in Colorado are assembling to provide long-term assistance for victims of the massive floods that have struck the state’s Front Range in the past week.
“It’s just been devastating,” said Geoff Bennett, vice president of shelter and community outreach for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver.
“It’s sad to see people losing their homes and in some cases people losing their lives. They’ve been in our prayers and we’re trying to figure out how to best assist.”
Bennett told CNA Sept. 16 that the agency is reaching out to parishes in affected areas “just to assess what the need is and how we can provide assistance.”
Many parishes are hosting community meetings about the disaster, caused by several days of record-setting rainfall in the normally dry climate, which triggered flash floods and a sustained increase in water levels.
“It sounds like they’re all just now trying to figure out what is going on,” he said, adding that Catholic Charities can serve as a resource for parishioners’ long-term needs.
Information about the extent of the disaster is still incomplete. At least seven people have died in the floods, and more than 1,200 people were still unaccounted for on Sept. 16, with power and phone service down in several areas.
More than 11,000 people have been evacuated, according to local reports, and nearly 18,000 structures have been damaged, some 1,500 of them destroyed.
The damage is widespread, affecting 15 counties along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains and into the eastern plains. Among the most heavily affected are Boulder and Larimer counties in the north part of the state and El Paso county in the south. Some rural and mountain residents have been cut off from roads and communications networks.
President Barack Obama has declared the Colorado floods a major disaster and has authorized federal funds to help flood victims. Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila has called for prayers for all those affected.
Glenn Good, regional director of Catholic Charities of Larimer County, said that the agency had to evacuate its homeless shelter in Fort Collins on Friday. It is assessing the facility, which “appears to be okay.” The agency is also attempting to locate any displaced clients.
The immediate emergency response is primarily handled by the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, while Catholic Charities assists in long-term recovery.
“For the most part people are (Read More)