Colorado Floods’ Silver Lining
With the knowledge of how devastating floods can, be, our thoughts and hearts go out to all flood-affected individuals and communities across Colorado. Rains swept across a huge portion of the state last week flooding a geographic area the size of Delaware. Water can cause tremendous damage – loss of life, erosion, flooding, waterborne diseases, and more. People across the affected region of Colorado have been evacuated from their homes, some are still missing, and others are facing the knowledge that their homes and businesses are destroyed.
This situation, while localized to central Colorado, is dire and the response effort is only just beginning. Among the many needs, roads are still closed and flood-affected wells will need to be tested. We know from past disasters that it takes heavy lifting by behalf of residents, local, state, and national governmental bodies, responding NGOs, human services organizations, and private philanthropy to recover from a disaster of this magnitude. Over the past several days, the CDP team has seen some incredible examples of collaboration, heroism and leadership.
The response and recovery would not be possible without the Colorado VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters). The HelpColoradoNow.org website brings a HUGE benefit to this disaster by helping donors find organizations to support. Their role in leading the coordination effort across all responding agencies is critical. Colorado-based philanthropic entities are activating funds dedicated to supporting the full range of community-wide needs.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee and I know firsthand the destruction that torrential rains and heavy flooding cause. During a 2010 flood, Nashville lost significant housing stock and damaged even more. We suffered tremendous infrastructure damage that induced over a month of tight water restrictions, and caused loss of life.
While this flooding did not get the level of national coverage of larger widespread and catastrophic disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, it brought home the truth that it is the affected community that plays the most crucial role in making decisions, rebuilding, and supporting residents.
Thankfully, the community in Nashville, and the communities affected in Colorado both have tremendous networks to tap. Strong social service infrastructure, well-formed community connections, effective governmental bodies, and a passion and commitment to the affected region are all powerful drivers for recovery.
We don’t know what lies ahead for Colorado’s recovery, but we do know that having a strong existing network of NGOs and funds to support the work puts them in a position of strength.
We are in touch with a handful of NGOs that are responding to on-the-ground needs. One of CDPs goals is to highlight the good work being undertaken by human services organizations and disaster responders alike.
If your organization is actively responding to the floods, please reach out to me directly at email@example.com and NGOresponse@disasterphilanthropy.org.