Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to provide financial support
by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — Melting snow has caused serious flooding problems in Montana. Last week, Governor Steve Bullock declared a flooding emergency in seven counties as well as the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The governor says the rapid snowmelt poses a serious threat to homes, farms and other infrastructures such as roads.
“I read in the newspaper that this is the most snow the state has received in one year since they started official records in the 1930s,” said Marsha Anson general presbyter/stated clerk for Glacier Presbytery. “This has been a long winter. It started in October and we’ve just now started to have a few spring days.”
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will provide a $7,500 grant to Glacier Presbytery to support congregations and communities in the north-central part of the state.
“We are especially concerned about the congregation and rural communities of Havre, Harlem and Chinook, where the Milk River has overflowed its banks,” said Anson. “Part of Harlem had to be evacuated because of the flooding. This is a very rural area, so people in town are helping one another by bringing people into their homes and doing all of the things that people in small communities do. We hear that it may be another week before floodwaters recede.”
Anson says they’ve also reached out to Ferncliff Camp for cleanup buckets, but the work will have to wait until the water is gone. In the meantime, she says this year’s crops are already impacted.
“Farmers are at least a month behind in planting crops. I talked to a farmer outside of Havre who says one of his fields has 20 inches of standing water,” she said. “He says they won’t be able to plant this season and it’s all from the snowfall. The field isn’t by a river and it’s under water so there’s no way for it to drain, it has to evaporate.”
Jim Kirk, PDA’s associate for national disaster response, says they are prepared to do what they can to assist the presbytery.
“In terms of disasters, it has been an impactful year within Glacier Presbytery. In the past 12 months, areas of the Presbytery have experienced fires, floods, blizzards and mudslides. Throughout these disasters, the PC(USA) has stood with our Presbyterian family,” said Kirk. “In addition to the grants, several PDA teams have been deployed to support the presbytery leadership in their assessment and response.”
Kirk says members of PDA’s National Response Team will facilitate a workshop at a Glacier Presbytery Retreat. The focus of the workshop will be to help members of the presbytery prepare themselves and their congregations for a disaster and how to be a blessing to their community in times of disaster.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is able to respond to emergencies because of gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing and designated gifts. To support this response, designate gifts to US Flooding, DR000191.
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