It’s been nearly a year since the massive flooding that struck several areas of Colorado. With little forewarning, heavy rains left streams and rivers swollen. The images in the aftermath of this dramatic event remain striking: communities isolated as entire roads were washed away, homes destroyed by the torrent of water, and streams and rivers that changed course entirely.
While the impact of the flooding was significant, even more impressive was the teamwork shown at all levels of government, the private sector, and volunteer agencies, as well as the resilience and determination displayed by the people of Colorado.
One of the misconceptions following a disaster is that FEMA, or anyone for that matter, can make things like they were before the event. But, recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work and patience. Fortunately, communities aren’t alone when it comes to this effort. FEMA’s primary role is to act as a coordinating agency, bringing the full capability of the federal government to augment state and local efforts.
The vision for recovery comes from residents impacted by the disaster, with the higher levels of government providing funding and resources to help make that vision for recovery a reality. As part of this process, the private sector and volunteer organizations also play a vital role in supporting and rebuilding the fabric of the community.
Great progress has been made in recovering from flooding over the last year, but there is still more to do. Communities in Colorado are still working to restore roads and public facilities that were damaged or destroyed by floodwaters. Homeowners and businesses are still rebuilding their properties, and communities in watersheds are joining forces to develop better strategies to ensure Colorado comes back stronger and safer while coexisting with the forces of nature.
Unfortunately, we can’t turn back the hands of time. Instead, we must envision things better than before and embrace the spirit of collaboration and our culture of resiliency, which will ultimately be the legacy of the 2013 floods.