Christian Groups Respond to Midwest Flood

Massive flooding in several Midwest states has sent residents fleeing for safety while Christian groups move in closer to help victims.

United Methodists in Indiana – a state where weekend rainfall was up to 10 inches – are assessing some of the flooded areas after having received $10,000 in emergency grants from the United Methodist Committee on Relief this week.

"We haven't had any churches that have had flooding," said Bob Babcock, the South Indiana Annual (regional) Conference's disaster response coordinator, to the United Methodist News Service on Tuesday. "But we've had numerous churches who have called in wanting to help."

Other Indiana churches volunteered to serve as a clothing site, emergency responder post, or to check on residents at local retirement or nursing homes.

In the central city of Spencer, Ind., church volunteers are working closely with the Red Cross to respond to the aftermath of the flood.

Meanwhile, the Christian group Feed the Hungry dispatched a truck with emergency food to the central town of Martinsville, Ind., on Wednesday to help feed hundreds of flood victims. Items in the shipment include canned food, dry soup cups, noodles, crackers, cookies, and other eatable items.

President Bush on Sunday signed a disaster declaration for Indiana that allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate federal assistance to the affected 21 counties.

UMC's Babcock estimates that only five percent of residents with flood damages have flood insurance. He anticipates the state will need help from government and non-government groups to rebuild homes and businesses.

In Iowa, more than 40 counties have been declared disaster areas, and officials and residents are watching nervously in hopes that the sandbagged levee will prevent rivers from flooding.

The Mississippi River was 1.5 feet above flood stage on Wednesday at St. Louis, according to AP.

Experts believe this week's flooding may be the worst in 15 years, but others say they do not expect it to be worst than the Great Flood of 1993 when the Mississippi River and its tributaries turned the Midwest into a great lake, according to Reuters.