The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has approved a $50,ooo grant to assist with recovery needs from the December 2013 Marion County Flood that affected the communities of LaRue, Prospect and Greencamp in West Ohio. The request for the grant support was submitted by Rev. Dee Stickley-Miner, Director of Connectional Mission and Justice for the West Ohio Conference and Mike Fogle of Waldo United Methodist Church, who serves as the Capitol Area North District Disaster Coordinator. In addition to the UMCOR grant, the West Ohio Conference is providing $15,ooo in relief support.
On December 24, 2013, LaRue, Ohio and surrounding areas experienced extensive flooding that encompassed a larger area than normal, impacting homes that have not been damaged in previous floods. Due to the time of the year, the community was caught off guard. Because of drainage improvements in the county immediately north of Marion County, flood waters are now backing up quicker in these communities resulting in surge flooding. The community is working with government agencies to correct this problem, however, the flooding will continue until corrections to the river flow are completed. Following the flood, the area experienced the lowest temperatures in decades, which delayed response and immediate actions. The Red Cross made initial assessments from this flooding event and state and federal declarations were requested, but were denied due to the smallness of the area impacted. According to recent census data, 19.6 % of people in Marion County live below the poverty line. Given this socioeconomic reality, community leaders and partners anticipate a disproportional amount of unmet needs; with 282 households impacted it is anticipated that approximately 50 households have unmet needs.
The response by LaRue United Methodist Church and other area United Methodist churches, along with the Capitol Area North Disaster Response team in partnership with the Red Cross and other community organizations have been tremendous. Recently Rev. Deb Berry became the new case manager and is in place working with those impacted by the flooding.
The grant application provides funding for the following:
- Case management for affected families
- Assistance for families to replace household furnishings
- Mold remediation
- Reconstruction and repair of households
- Given the large number of rental properties, assistance will be provided for security deposits/first month rent for those needing to relocate
- Develop a sustaining partnership with the area to lessen the impact of future flooding by providing training, awareness and developing disaster plans for proactive action. We will use and utilize UMCOR’s Connecting Neighbors Program to assist in this development
The recovery will be a primarily volunteer driven project with only direct expenses being reimbursed for the case management team and other leadership. Mike Fogle will be serving as Incident Coordinator and the Long Term Recovery Chair. Volunteers will be used to assist affected families with repairs and rebuilding and a team of people will be identified, trained and deployed to develop relationships with community citizens to prepare for future floods and lessen potential damage.
Grant monies are provided from individual and corporate contributions worldwide and locally given to UMCOR and the West Ohio Conference. Operational costs for UMCOR are provided by the generosity of the people of The United Methodist Church through the One Great Hour of Sharing. Conference staff salaries and UMCOR leadership salaries come from apportionments. 100% of donations to UMCOR and the West Ohio Conference for a disaster go directly to the people affected by the disaster.