OMAHA, Nebraska — As devastating floodwaters continue to rise
in parts of the Midwest, Catholics are raising funds for short-term aid
and long-term rebuilding efforts.
Nebraska has been among the
hardest-hit states by severe flooding in recent days, although several
other Midwestern states have also been affected as a “bomb cyclone” tore
through the region last week, bringing with it strong winds and heavy
rain. The floods that have resulted have washed out roads, destroyed
homes, and burst dams, compounding the damage throughout the area.
The majority of counties in Nebraska are currently under a state of emergency, as are nearly half of the counties in Iowa.
Gov. Pete Ricketts said the storm has already caused “the most
extensive damage our state has ever experienced.” Repairing damaged
infrastructure could take months, and agricultural losses in ranching
and growing crops could reach nearly $1 billion.
scramble to evacuate, watching their livelihoods wash away in front of
their eyes, their neighbors are doing what they can to offer support.
special collection in Omaha will help fund recovery efforts. Parishes
have been asked to evaluate needs in their communities and request funds
for both immediate recovery needs and long-term rebuilding.
Social Services of Southern Nebraska is holding a bottled water drive
to help students at Peru State College, who have been displaced for
several days and are facing contaminated water for the foreseeable
The organization is also accepting donations to aid those who are suffering from the flooding.
is at times like these that we are all called to help our friends,
relatives and neighbors who are suffering,” Catholic Social Services
noted in a statement. “Please help us help those who have lost so much.”
Patrick’s Catholic Church in Elkhorn, Nebraska, is teaming up with
Bethany Lutheran, Brookside, Peace Presbyterian and COPE to help with
long-term rebuilding support for flood victims.
Meanwhile, northwestern counties in the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are in the path of the floodwaters.
towns are preparing,” said Kevin Murphy, executive director of
marketing and communications for Catholic Charities in the diocese.
told CNA that the major highway in the area has been closed, as the
Missouri River is expected to reach near-record flooding levels.
Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph could also be feeling the effects
of the flooding in a very direct way — the organization’s satellite
office in Buchanan County sits just about 5,000 feet from the river.
“We are monitoring the situation closely,” Murphy said.
Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, head of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee
on Domestic Justice and Human Development, offered his prayers as the
floods continue, while also calling Catholics to participate in relief
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the
damage caused by the flooding throughout the Midwest these past few
days,” he said in a statement March 19.
The bishop prayed “that those affected by the floods will find the strength to rebuild.”
trust that the Lord will console them in their suffering,” he said.
“Let us answer the Lord’s call to love one another and generously
support our neighbors in this time of need.”
He noted that Catholic Charities USA is collecting funds to help flood victims throughout the entire region.
How to help
Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska
Catholic Charities USA