How to Help Midwest Flooding Victims

Historic flooding in the Midwest triggered by a confluence of weather events has killed at least three people and displaced thousands, predominantly across Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Entire towns are underwater, and communities face years of recovery. Generous members of the Care2 community often want to know how to help at times like this, so I’ve rounded up some options to help you get resources to people who need them.

The best thing to give for natural disasters is money. Organizations use it to get people and supplies where they are needed and to provide direct cash grants for people who need help with recovery. Some organizations collecting funds for affected regions include: United Way of the Midlands, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, Convoy of Hope, Grand Island Community Foundation and the Custer County Foundation.

Meanwhile, animal rescue and sheltering services are being provided by organizations, including Hooves and Paws Rescue of the Heartland, Nebraska Humane and Lusco Farms Rescue. The Midwest also hosts a lot of farm animals, many of whom will be abandoned to drown in the flooding, thanks to a lack of safety planning. And notably, Iowa legislators just passed another “ag gag” bill designed to make it harder to advocate for farm animals.

Individual shelters and agencies may need in-kind donations. But because these needs evolve rapidly, it is a good idea to get in contact with them directly or check their social media to see what they require. (There’s nothing like getting 10,000 blankets because a well-meaning person on the internet mentioned you had asked for a few.) Local and regional papers, including the Omaha World-Herald and the Des Moines Register, are maintaining updated lists with shelter information.

The flooding happened because of the timing of the “bomb cyclone” that dumped rain across the Midwest. As rain was pouring from the sky the spring snowmelt was also happening, releasing huge volumes of water with nowhere to go. The Missouri River quickly started overtopping levees, and low-lying communities began flooding because the water couldn’t drain away fast enough. Beyond the dramatically flooded states that have been making headlines, 11 other states are under a flood warning.

The topic of climate change often comes up with extreme weather. It can be hard to definitively link every single piece of epic weather to climate change, but it is certainly true that weather patterns are shifting because of it. This can include seasonal changes and heavier rainfall. The Midwest has experienced heavy and widespread flooding before and will again, though the effects of that flooding may depend on the decisions people make about where to rebuild.

Midwestern states are also facing an issue familiar to people across the United States: infrastructure problems. That includes issues with maintaining levees and other flood control devices — along with the need for infrastructure hardening designed to resist the effects of climate change, such as better insulating water, sewer and gas lines, along with electrical systems. Investing in infrastructure is costly, especially for smaller communities that may lack the tax base needed to raise sufficient revenue to address failing systems. The federal government has expressed an interest in investing more heavily in infrastructure, but that funding has been slow to come.

As the federal government prepares to send much-needed funds to affected areas to help them recover, it’s worth having a conversation with your legislator (or their staff) about infrastructure investment. It’s not the most thrilling of topics, but it can be critical for climate change resilience, public safety and economic security.

Photo credit: Phil Roeder/Creative Commons

18 comments

Mia B
Melisa B27 days ago

thank you

SEND
Lorraine A

Oh its ok, the Trump says there is no problem with the climate!! Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Vincent T
Vincent T27 days ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD28 days ago

tyfs

SEND
Loredana V
Loredana V29 days ago

Thanks for sharing, I hope they get help.

SEND
Alea C
Alea C29 days ago

Tyfs.

SEND
Anne M
Anne Moran29 days ago

Government has to get to work,, and repair infrastructure, rather than dwell on chump, and that damn Mueller report...

SEND
Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn29 days ago

Many thanks to you !

SEND
Maria P
Martha P29 days ago

tyfs

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M29 days ago

Thanks.

SEND