The recent massive flooding in Colorado stretches across an area that’s nearly the size of Connecticut — 4,500 square miles and 17 counties, including the cities of Boulder, Estes Park, Longmont, Loveland, Ft. Collins, Greeley, Evergreen, Aurora and Commerce City.
Recovery efforts are already under way for the tens of thousands affected by the floods. If you’ve been affected, or you want to help those in need, check out the list of resources and volunteer organizations below.
If You’ve Been Affected
1. Let your loved ones know you’re safe.
Put your name on the American Red Cross’s “Safe and Well” registry. That way, your loved ones can search for you and hopefully find you, which will give them tremendous peace of mind. If it’s easier to call, dial 1-800-Red-Cross (1-800-733-2767).
2. Stay on top of weather and road conditions.
If you’re planning a trip through any of the affected areas, or if you want to see if cut-off communities now have some form of road access, check with the Colorado Department of Transportation. The flooding has destroyed or damaged 50 bridges in Colorado, and countless roadways have been damaged or entirely wiped out. CDOT is providing regular updates of all interstate and state highway openings/closings.
Likewise, if you’re planning to travel through the affected areas or would like updates on flood/river conditions in the Front Range and on the northeastern plains, check with the National Weather Service. The online map will show if and where flood conditions still exist.
3. Assess the damage.
Once authorities have said it’s safe for residents of your area to return home, proceed with caution. Don’t enter buildings surrounded by floodwaters.
Flood damage is typically excluded under most homeowners policies. If you have a separate flood policy, file your flood claim or contact your agent for assistance. Learn more about flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
As you begin clean-up, consider contacting a professional water remediation vendor, and be sure to save your receipts in case you qualify for disaster assistance. Check out these tips for hiring a qualified contractor to make sure you don’t get scammed.
4. Register for disaster assistance with FEMA.
Individuals in Adams, Boulder, Larimer, and Weld counties can apply for disaster assistance, according to FEMA. Register online at disasterassistance.gov, or call 800-621-3362. Once registered, you may be eligible for temporary housing assistance, home repair or replacement, and financial assistance.
I’m Not Affected, But I Want to Help
If you’re looking to volunteer to help the thousands affected by the flooding, the organizations below are helping with the flooding recovery and relief efforts.
- All Hands Volunteers: This not-for-profit volunteer organization is preparing to conduct a Colorado project as soon as search-and-rescue efforts are complete and emergency management authorities say it’s safe to enter the affected areas. AHV is asking for monetary donations and volunteers; it notes that all early donations will help the group evaluate and enhance its capacity to respond and meet Coloradans’ needs.
- Boulder Valley Humane Society: At press time, BVHS was caring for more than 60 displaced pets. There is no need for additional volunteer support or in-kind donations at this time; however, the staff notes that financial contributions will be greatly appreciated. The Larimer Humane Society and Longmont Humane Society are also seeking donations.
- Colorado Chapters of the American Red Cross: The Red Cross is currently operating eight shelters across Colorado; to date, it has provided shelter to more than 1,600 people and has served more than 7,000 meals. Donate online, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
- Foothills United Way: All money donated to the Foothills Flood Relief Fund is going directly to people affected by the floods. This fund is focusing on Boulder and Broomfield counties, and it will work with local and state officials to determine what people’s needs are and partner with the appropriate organizations. The Boulder Community Foundation is matching donations up to $50,000. (Please note: The United Way also is operating the Larimer County Floods: Long-Term Recovery Fund and the Weld County Flood Relief Fund.)
- Help Colorado Now:This is a collaboration between the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Financial contributions are the best way to help, and this website provides a list of reputable organizations. The site also has lists that organize volunteers and much-needed items such as food, water and clothing.
- Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is providing food and shelter to five of the hardest-hit counties. In just three days, Salvation Army emergency disaster services personnel provided first responders and evacuees with more than 10,000 meals, drinks and nutritional items. It also has ordered 2,000 flood cleanup kits. You may donate online, or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) and designate “Colorado Floods.” You may also text GIVEHOPEIM to 80888 to donate $10.
- Save the Children: Save the Children’s Domestic Emergency Fund is supporting relief efforts in Colorado. It’s currently operating a child-friendly space in one of the largest evacuation centers, Lifebridge Church in Longmont, and it’s partnering with the American Red Cross to open additional child-friendly spaces in shelters along the Front Range.
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