BALTIMORE, MD – Following devastating floods across the Midwest, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) deployed a U.S. emergency response team in Nebraska to address practical and intangible needs.
After initial assessments across the Omaha area, IOCC volunteers are now engaged in emergency muck-and-gut operations to clear flooded homes of mud, debris, and water-soaked items in Valley and Hanson Lake, Nebraska. IOCC’s emergency action teams comprise groups of volunteers headed by trained team leaders and are supported by an emergency response vehicle stocked with tools and supplies. The teams help families deal with the initial aftermath of destruction to their homes and property, performing extensive cleanup, moving, and demolition so that houses can be dried out and eventually repaired.
In parallel efforts, on March 26, IOCC’s Orthodox Frontliners began offering emotional and spiritual care to families affected by the historic floods. Specially trained in disaster chaplaincy and response, Frontliners support both people facing trauma and the first responders and emergency workers serving them.
“The first challenge for a family is where to begin—both in terms of cleanup and the disaster’s emotional toll,” said IOCC’s U.S. Country Representative Daniel Christopulos. “Our assistance in the early days is so critical for those impacted and improves their ability to fully recover. Working with Orthodox parishes here in Omaha, plus other churches and faith-based partners, we’ve been able to get started quickly.”
In the first three days of response, 30 volunteers (including two local Orthodox priests) completed muck-out operations of two homes. Work is ongoing and will continue into the coming weeks, as IOCC volunteers join forces with an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team, and Frontliners remain available to homeowners.
As the spring thaw continues, additional flooding is expected throughout the Midwest, and IOCC remains poised to respond should the need arise.
Information about volunteer opportunities is available at iocc.org/emergencyaction. Those who wish to support IOCC’s ongoing U.S. emergency response can donate online: iocc.org/floods19.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is the humanitarian and development agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has provided more than $661 million in humanitarian relief and sustainable development programs in over 60 countries worldwide. Today, IOCC applies its expertise in humanitarian response to human-caused and natural crises in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States, offering assistance based solely on need. Follow IOCC: @IOCCRelief on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.