LONGMONT, Colo. — Even as some Missouri communities are still drying out from recent record flash floods, Disaster Relief volunteers from Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) churches are in Colorado responding to floods that have killed several and left more than a thousand unaccounted for.
Dwain Carter, director of disaster relief for the MBC, asked for trained assessors, chaplains, mudout crews, feeding units, a shower team and chainsaw volunteers. Volunteers should e-mail email@example.com or call 573-556-0315 if able to respond. Carter said response so far has been limited, and asked volunteers to please consider responding if available.
“We will pair you with a team if you are not a part of one or if your team is unable to respond,” he said. “We have an all hands on deck call. We are treating this as if it is a disaster in Missouri.”
Carter estimates this response to last about a month.
After torrential flooding in Colorado’s Front Range the last two weeks, Southern Baptist volunteers at least four states are now deployed to the region where heavy rains and steep mountains combined to wash out homes, bridges and roads from Estes Park to Boulder and beyond.
Communities as far east as Greeley and Dearfield also suffered flood damage from rain that began Sept. 10. The storm peaked Sept. 12 when Boulder received more than nine inches, double the previous one-day record, according to the National Weather Service. Authorities attribute six deaths to the flooding. At one point as many as 1,400 people were unaccounted for in the state. That number dropped to 200 by Sept. 19 as power and cell phone service were restored across much of the region.
“Things are going well as we are gearing up for cleanup and recovery,” said Eddie Blackmon, North American Mission Board SBDR coordinator. Blackmon is serving in Longmont with Colorado Baptist disaster relief director Dennis Belz. A NAMB mobile command center was headed to Longs Peak Baptist Church in Longmont to serve as the overall incident command center. NAMB also is dispatching a recovery unit and a semi load of supplies.
MBC volunteers and Texas Baptist Men are serving as staff incident management teams in Longmont and Loveland, respectively, Blackmon said. Oklahoma Baptist SBDR volunteers are en route to serve as another management team.
Colorado Baptist SBDR volunteers were preparing meals for distribution to survivors. Colorado volunteers also are staffing aid stations at Colorado State Disaster Assistance Centers.
“They are ministering to the families and survivors of the floods,” Blackmon said. “They are taking job requests that we hope to begin fulfilling soon. Some of the best news today is that Lyons, the community that was an island, was opened today for residents to return.”
Blackmon said the spirit of cooperation from both city and county officials has been encouraging. He added that the positive reaction from government officials has even surprised some volunteers.
Mud-out is heavy work, but it’s also very expensive work. The chemical MBC DR teams use to disinfect flooded property – Shockwave – tops $80 per gallon. Carter said DR always welcomes donations, and Disaster Relief gets zero Cooperative Program funding.
Donations given through Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief go directly to DR efforts. Donations can be made online at mobaptist.org/dr.
Carter urged Missouri Baptists to get trained. The next MBC DR training event is Oct. 18-19 at First Baptist, Dexter. To register online for the training, go to www.mobaptist.org/dr.