Friday, March 27, 2009

Record flood causes Catholic Charities North Dakota to call on priests

.- Flooding has reached ‘code red’ status in parts of Fargo as river levels eclipse a 1897 record, causing Catholic Charities to call on all priests in the diocese to assist with the recovery effort by filling sandbags, assisting with counseling and tending to other vital needs.

Yesterday mandatory evacuations took place in the River Vili and Riverview Estates areas on the

Volunteers help place sandbags

around Cardinal Muench Seminary

southern side of Fargo. Local news channel KFGO reports that Riverview Estates is a senior living center and the Fargo National Guard was called in to assist with the evacuations. Last night a dike breech caused a “Code Red” and forced a mandatory evacuation of the area.

Typically river currents flow between 2 and 3 mph, but they are currently exceeding 20-25 mph in certain areas, making rescue efforts especially difficult for volunteers. Many residents, affected by the last serious flood in 1997, tried to stay and save their homes but are now finding the flooding this time is just too much to handle.

Catholic Charities, in an urgent letter to diocesan priests, said a coordinated effort was taking place to fill sandbags and “respond to the needs of people in the affected areas through several means.” Catholic Charities is also offering counseling services “to everyone regardless of religious affiliation.”

Individuals interested in volunteering should contact Colleen ( ) or Joan ( ) or call

1-800-450-4457 to learn where they can best help.

People interested in donating to the Disaster Response effort at Catholic Charities North Dakota can contribute at