Iowans on Way to Help with Colorado Flood Cleanup
By Dave Franzman, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- Eastern Iowa depended on volunteers from outside the area to respond to the massive cleanup following the flood of June 2008. Now, a handful of Iowans are returning the favor by heading to hard-hit parts of Colorado to assist relief efforts there.
Nine Red Cross volunteers throughout the state will head out either Monday or Tuesday with emergency response vehicles (ERV) from Red Cross chapters.
One couple leaving from Cedar Rapids Monday morning was Leo and Diane Mork of Swisher. The Morks have volunteered for the Red Cross for 15 years and responded to a total of 20 flood disasters. They’ll drive one of the vehicles the Red Cross will use either to deliver meals to people in flooded mountain communities in Colorado or carry supplies for the cleanup.
The Morks say many of the needs in flood disasters don’t change much. But every flood is a little different.
“It’ll be interesting to see. We’ve not done anything in Colorado before—how do the people respond as far as going to shelters or do they have a good network and will stay with friends,” Leo Mork said.
His wife, Diane, added “they all need electricity which is frequently out for a long period of time. That’s one of the reasons we feed people. They need to replace things in homes and shove off the mud.”
The Morks assisted in eastern Iowa in 2008 and say it’s probably going to be a lot different than Colorado in 2013 because of one main factor—roads. In Iowa flooding, once the water receded from roads, and crews could remove mud, travel was not really restricted much. But the flash flooding in Colorado destroyed many of the single roads leading into some areas. Those roads will have to be rebuilt before help can drive in and that could complicate the efforts.
Leo Mork said he’s dealt with access issues before in disaster areas and will find a way to cope.
“You ask the locals how do you get from here to there when the main road is cut off…it’s going to be real interesting to find those side roads and the long way around. That will be a challenge for our management—to get us from point “A” to point “B” and deliver the relief needed,” he said.
The Morks say they don’t know where they will go to lend a hand in Colorado yet. Plans call for them to drive the Red Cross ERV truck to Denver and then learn their destination from people on the scene. They expect to stay in the area for two weeks until other volunteers replace them.
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