IOCC Responds to Victims of Flood Ravaged Midwest

June 26, 2014

Teen volunteers from St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were among the dozen members of IOCC's Orthodox Action Team deployed to the hard-hit Iowa town of Rock Rapids to help a flood survivor clear away waterlogged debris from his home. IOCC has mobilized its Emergency Response Network to respond to the urgent needs of flood survivors in the region with emergency cleanup assistance. photo: Dan Christopulos/IOCC
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Rivers across the Midwest are surging over their banks, flooding cities and sweeping away summer crops as they fail to contain record summer rains that fell during the past week. Floodwaters have engulfed much of Minnesota, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, in some of the worst flooding in decades. The state's governor has declared a state of emergency as homes and businesses as well as vast stretches of farmland across 35 counties were submerged under several feet of water. In neighboring Iowa, more than 150 homes in the northwestern part of the state have been severely damaged by the fast moving waters. Jim, 64, a homeowner in the hard hit town of Rock Rapids, was caught off guard as water rushed into his basement, barely giving him time to escape.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has mobilized to respond to the emergency needs of flood survivors in the region. IOCC Emergency Response Network volunteers as well as the local Orthodox Christian community sprang into action, with more than a dozen teens and adults from St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis traveling to Rock Rapids to roll up their sleeves and help Jim clear out waterlogged debris from his flooded home, one of 30 submerged homes in his community.

(L to R) Bill Driscoll, Executive Director of NECHAMA – Jewish Disaster Response; Fr. Thomas Alatzakis, St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, Minneapolis; and Daniel Christopulos, IOCC US Country Representative, listen intently as a homeowner from Rock Rapids, Iowa, describes how 14 feet of the floodwater rushed into his basement and threatened to trap him before he escaped to higher ground. IOCC volunteers, working in partnership with NECHAMA and Catholic United Relief traveled to southern Minnesota and northern Iowa to assist homeowners in clean up after this week's flooding. photo: IOCC
More flooding is expected as the Mississippi River crests later today and is predicted to stay at flooding levels through the July 4th weekend. IOCC is working with local relief partners, Catholic United Response and NECHAMA Jewish Disaster Response, to continue to assess the needs of the survivors in the affected region and prepare to deploy more volunteers as needed to other hard hit areas across the two states.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can help the victims of disasters in the United States, like the Midwest floods, by making a financial gift to the United States Emergency Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org, call toll-free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, Md. 21297-0429.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES
IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered $488 million in relief and development programs to families and communities in more than 50 countries. IOCC is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy. To learn more about IOCC, please visit our website at www.iocc.org.

Media contact: Rada K. Tierney, IOCC Media Relations, 443-823-3489, rtierney@iocc.org

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