A double-barrel wallop of severe weather – blizzards in the west and flooding in the east – hit Nebraska this week, and its effects could make their way into Kansas.
There is going to be a long-term relief and recovery phase
with work expected for weeks and months ahead.
Rev. Hollie Tapley, Great Plains Conference disaster response coordinator
Financial donations are requested for the conference disaster response fund. Money given to this fund is provided by the conference directly to people who need it following a disaster such as flooding.
The financial need could be quite large. As much as two feet of snow reached western Nebraska over the past few days, with massive flooding along creeks and rivers in the eastern half. In addition, winds of up to 60 mph have caused damage throughout the state.
“Travel is pretty much at a standstill for the whole state of Nebraska,” Tapley said at midday Thursday.
Here are updates from the Lincoln Journal Star.
Throughout much of the state, the ground is frozen two feet or more beneath the surface.
“That’s a lot of the reason for the massive amounts of flooding that’s taken place,” Tapley said.
Water from the snow and ice melt, as well as the heavy rains, could make its way into northern Kansas, causing additional damage, she said.
“The flooding is going to be even worse,” Tapley said, “because everything’s so saturated and there’s not place for it to go.”
Tapley has been in conversation with pastors, district superintendents and emergency officials to get an idea of what the conference disaster response volunteers can do. Tapley urged people not to self-deploy into flooded areas but instead to wait from instructions, which will be provided after emergency crews have had a chance to conduct their work.
The conference’s early response teams (ERTs) have been notified and are on stand-by status, Tapley said, so they will be ready to move into flooded areas as soon as it is safe to do so. At this time, there is no call for cleaning kits, formerly known as flood buckets. The conference will notify churches if there is a need for those kits or other materials.
“We can’t do anything til the water’s down and the roads are open,” she said.
Volunteers are needed even if they have no training, Tapley said. “Just time training” will give new volunteers all the instruction they need without being credentialed, she said. The only requirement is Safe Gatherings certification.
In a video to members of the Great Plains Conference, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. asked for prayers and for donations to the conference disaster response fund.
“Our churches are known for stepping in and helping those in need,” Bishop Saenz said, encouraging a special offering this Sunday, separate from a planned special offering Sunday, March 31, for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. “I’m sure our churches will become centers of aid and assistance for our volunteers as they move out into the community with relief and recovery efforts.”
Tapley said the effort will be greatly aided by government assistance.
“Our best hope now is prayer for a presidential disaster declaration, so we can get FEMA funds,” she said.
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