Flood waters at record high, ministry helps

By June 16, 2008

USA (MNN) — They're calling it the 500-year flood. Nearly three-quarters of the state of Iowa in the U.S. is covered in record amounts of water. More than  4,000 homes have been evacuated. 

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the impossible seems to be happening. It had been said that the town
would never flood, but people are now watching their homes sit in water. The record water level in the town was set in 1851, and this past week it was broken by a margin of six feet. "Pretty amazing," a hydrologist told one news service. 

The problems started even before the rain came. Deadly tornados had already ripped through the state. Christian Reformed World Relief Committee was there cleaning up the damage when the floods began to threaten the area. "The one day it was raining so bad we couldn't work.  We couldn't do anything. So basically, everybody stayed in, and that doesn't help the situation," said Bill Adams, Director of Disaster Response at
CRWRC.

CRWRC works with local churches and provides temporary shelter. They have teams readied,  when the water recedes, to bring in teams who are skilled in "mucking out" devastated homes.  The greatest immediate needs are often spiritual though, since so many
people are overwhelmed by the loss. Adams said it goes a long way to show people that there are people who care about them and are there to help. "The message that we tell all of our volunteers is ‘always be ready to sit down and talk to a homeowner.' I can't tell you all of the stories that we hear of people that just see the work that we're doing, and they ask us 'Why?' And our people are very open in telling them
why: it's because of the love that we have in Christ," said Adams.

CRWRC is currently doing clean-up in Parkersburg where two members of a CRC church were killed by
a tornado. The team in Parkersburg will move forward as they receive direction. 
Teams will also focus on hard-hit Cedar Rapids where 100 blocks are under water. "For the residents who have now suffered two hits, it's very depressing. So that would be a prayer for spiritual encouragement," said Adams.

Thousands of acres of crops may have been taken away along with homes. According to another news source, the last time crops were drenched in even less water than this in 1993, they produced the smallest harvest in 20 years. Bushels of corn were already up three dollars from last year at this time: $4 then compared to $7 today. 

Pray for relief workers who might be in danger as they help others. If you'd like to be a part of a volunteer team or offer funding for their effort, call
1-800-848-5818 for the CRWRC Disaster Response office.

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