An unprecedented large-scale flooding has engulfed the eastern states, causing State officials to declare a state of emergency in parts of Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. Rivers crested above flood stage seeping into homes and forcing families to seek rescue on roof tops.
"This is the worst flooding that parts of the North East have seen in over 50 years," said Richard Ohlsen, ERD's director of domestic disaster preparedness and response.
To date, ERD has been able to provide emergency assistance to the Dioceses of Albany, Easton, New York and Central New York. Even as the rain continues falling in these communities, needs and damage assessment have already begun in the most devastated areas. Affected dioceses plan to use the emergency funds towards meeting the most urgent needs of the evacuees: Temporary shelter, medicine, food, water, baby formula and clothing.
The Dicoese of Easton is working with the local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) to make needs assessment of their most affected regions. Shelters have been set-up to assist people displaced from their homes throughout the East Coast. In the Dioceses of Albany and Central New York, much of the communities are still under water. The Diocese of Albany has been in contact with the emergency operations center to work on assessing the immediate needs of those community and residents affected.
"The church is the center of the community, and in many cases the church is where disaster victims turn for help. Not only in financial matters but also in the spiritual and physiological care…Through preparedness we will help meet the needs of our communities," said Ohlsen.
To make a donation to assist people affected by disasters, please donate to Emergency Relief Fund in the "Ways to Give" section online at http://www.er-d.org/ or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Checks can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, designated for the "Emergency Relief Fund", P.O. Box 12043, Newark, NJ, 07101.
Episcopal Relief and Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States. An independent 501(c) (3) organization, ERD saves lives and builds hope in communities around the world. We provide emergency assistance in times of crisis and rebuild after disasters. We enable people to climb out of poverty by offering long-term solutions in the areas of food security and health care, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.