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Ozarks Agencies Respond to Deadly Colorado Flooding

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield-based disaster assistance agencies are helping victims of massive flooding in Colorado.
...this is something that will change you for the rest of your life.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield-based disaster assistance agencies are gearing up to help victims of massive flooding in Colorado.

Hundreds of people are unaccounted for and a major air rescue is underway in Boulder County. Four people are confirmed dead, but many others are presumed dead.

Jeff Nene with Convoy of Hope tells KOLR10 News his agency already has two teams in Colorado, and four tractor-trailers on the ground. An assessment team went out Friday with debris removal equipment and box trucks with supplies.

"We'll send water first and foremost because the local system has been contaminated in the short term, so we'll send water, food, and later cleaning supplies, trash bags, shovels, rakes, different things like that."

Two additional trailers went out Saturday, and two more on Sunday. The teams are working with churches organizing relief.

"One of the advantages when we come in and use local volunteers is they know the community," adds Nene. "They know the stores, they know the neighborhoods, they know people in those communities, who to talk to, who to be able to get help from, that type of thing."

The Ozarks Chapter of the American Red Cross is also getting ready to send assistance teams out west. Spokesperson Nigel Holderby says one person from Lebanon with skills in IT has already left.  Five local volunteers are expected to be needed in the days ahead, including Melissa Duff, who leaves Tuesday.

"On this magnitude of a disaster, I don't think anybody can prepare themselves for what they're gonna see," she says. "As far as I know, I will be working with churches, the Salvation Army, and communicating with them to put together a game plan of how they'll help and how we will help."

Red Cross volunteers from other parts of the country are also in Colorado. They are providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to thousands of people forced from their homes. They are also at the Boulder airport, helping stranded residents who have been airlifted out of their flooded neighborhoods.

"There are still a lot of missing people and I've never dealt with a tragedy on that level of missing people and the emotional stress that comes with it," adds Duff. "I think that will be one of my biggest things to overcome, is the emotional aspect of it."

This is Duff's first deployment.

"It's a life lesson. I want to come back with a new perspective and outlook on life because this is something that will change you for the rest of your life."

The Red Cross says more than 250 trained disaster workers are deployed to Colorado, along with more than 20 emergency response vehicles and six trucks of relief supplies.

If you'd like to make a donation, you can text "Red Cross" to 90999.
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