As the flooding in the Midwest of the US continues to spread, Christian relief agency World Vision is dispatching truckloads of emergency supplies to Iowa and sending a staff team to assess the needs of affected families.
"World Vision will be providing basic items like toothbrushes, shampoo and toys for comfort to children and families who have been driven from their homes by the floodwaters," said Phyllis Freeman, who is a domestic disaster response specialist with World Vision and leading the agency's team on its way to the flood zone.
"In addition, as clean-up activities are beginning, things like face masks and gloves will help protect people from dangerous chemicals and mould that may be present," explained Freeman, who played a key role in World Vision's Hurricane Katrina response.
The agency, which serves children and families in need both in the US and in some 100 countries worldwide, is sending an initial shipment of face mask filters, vinyl gloves, personal hygiene items and children's toys from its Storehouse in Los Angeles tomorrow. The supplies, donated by World Vision corporate partners, including Cardinal Health, will be distributed through partner organizations to families in need in several Iowa communities.
"Logistics and access are key challenges right now, with so many smaller communities affected across a large and growing flooded area," said John Pettit, director of World Vision's domestic disaster response.
World Vision is especially concerned about the needs of children and vulnerable, low-income populations who might be at risk of falling through the cracks of standard help that's available, Pettit added.
"We know these communities are hurting, and that recovery will take time. The working poor, migrant farm workers, families without flood insurance, and others who, for a variety of reasons, don't access existing government help will require special attention in the days and weeks ahead," said Pettit.
World Vision plans to send additional shipments of relief goods from its Chicago Storehouse in the coming days.
World Vision's Storehouse helps meet the basic needs of children and families and revitalizes neighbourhoods by providing donated, high-quality goods such as personal care items, clothing, building materials and school supplies.
The Storehouse provides these items to local partners, helping to strengthen community connections to churches and social institutions and to provide goods to those most in need. World Vision operates Storehouses in 11 cities throughout the United States, including Los Angeles.