Since historic and devastating floods hit Colorado one year ago, the American Red Cross has helped individual families and the community with critical recovery assistance. As the months following the flood stretched into a year, the Red Cross in Colorado tackled all sorts of recovery needs, including many behind-the-scenes tasks that do not make the evening news.
After many disasters, the Red Cross provides cleanup kits and supplies to help communities recover, and the Colorado floods were no different. Thinking of recovery from every angle, the materials are often sourced from local business to help plug resources back into the community.
For instance, many flood recovery items were purchased from small local businesses like Clark’s Hardware, which closed its doors for 13 days after the floods brought in several feet of mud and water. Once the hardware store reopened, the Red Cross purchased cleanup items such as dust masks, shovels, rakes and two-way radios and distributed them to the community.
“They not only helped me personally, but also my business and the local economy,” said Lonny Clark, of Clark’s Hardware. “I was so glad the Red Cross was there to help my community.”
When groups came together to clean up debris in the Little Thompson River in June, the Red Cross defrayed costs to the community by covering waste disposal expenses.
“Porta-potties, dumpsters and junk yards aren’t very glamorous aspects of disaster recovery, but they’re a very real need and a very real cost for communities that are still recovering from the floods,” said Sabrina Amon, Disaster Recovery Manager for the Red Cross of Colorado. “At the Red Cross, we look at the full picture and seek to find those unmet needs that we can fill; we’re removing road blocks to recovery.”
The Red Cross also works directly with local agencies and community groups to help fill service gaps and help local residents with daily needs. The Red Cross provided gas cards to local residents, as many people had to relocate or are dealing with an increased cost of travel due to road closures. Housing needs for displaced residents, including temporary storage, first month’s rent or deposit, mold remediation and basic furniture, are also supported by Red Cross recovery efforts. This aims to help pave the way for residents to move into a more permanent home after the flood.
For more information on how the Red Cross is helping Colorado recover, read the 2013 Colorado Floods One-Year Report. Many more stories of relief and recovery starting the night of the flood and stretching one year later are available on the Colorado blog.