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Colorado Floods-Update from the Field

Jordan Chabalowski and Craig Coleman have been assessing the damage following the Colorado Floods. Below is their update.

Our main purpose and goal is to work with marginalized/under represented communities following natural disasters, and utilize our creative problem solving abilities, along with the diverse array of talents our Burn Community brings to the table, to fill gaps the during the full wave of the recovery process.

We just completed our preliminary field assessments in which we traveled to Hygiene, Longmont, Boulder, Lyons, and Milliken. We went to view the damage and begin connecting with local institutions and individuals to begin to pool resources/information to assist with the recovery effort that will occur over the next few months. We have identified a few areas of major concern that we believe our community can specifically tackle.

The range of damage at this point is now accessible as the rain/flood waters have receded. The hardest hit areas just began allowing families back into these areas, and the past few days have been the first chance to visibly see the scope on the damage. The areas with heavy infrastructural damage (to roads,utilities, and sanitation) may stay like this for a time, but the Governor set a December 1st deadline for State infrastructure to resume.

There are stretches of neighborhoods that had bad flooding in their basements, areas that are so water damaged that they are uninhabitable, and areas that are completely inaccessible. However, it appears that the areas that sustained heavy damage are in relatively consolidated pockets of each area the state hit, and as the flood waters recede the picture of the situation becomes far more manageable.

Many volunteer groups have sprung into action and began to help on a day to day basis with affected home owners which consists of: removing any remaining water, removing personal belongings from the home, removing wet carpet/drywall, and applying mold preventatives. We participated in this effort initially as we gathered more information, but we moved on to investigate other harder hit areas as much of this immediate need was being met by local groups.

We identified two trailer parks in Milliken and Evans that were very badly hit. However, the Evans site may be completely scrapped due to the sustained damage (roughly 200 mobile homes), and is on standby for accepting any assistance. However, the park in Milliken had roughly 36 mobile homes, some of which are completely destroyed, and some of which are salvageable. At present we believe this is an area to focus on, and the connections we made this past week will provide good foundations for moving forward. Yet, as with every disaster, the recovery process is not an over night solution, and we ask for patience as we work to develop a more clear picture on how best to participate. Thank you for the support we  have received so far, and we look forward to delivering some solid reports from the field, so please stay tuned.

-Jordan Chabalowski


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