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How To: Help Flood Victims from Iowa to China

Jews are used to a flood story with a happy ending: The animals march onto the ark two by two, and after forty days and forty nights of rain, things begin to ease up. The dove brings back an olive branch. There is a rainbow, and a pledge never to destroy humanity by flood again. Sweet on the page, but gruesome if you think about it for too long. The world slowly drowned. God erased history. The flooding in Iowa is not quite cataclysmic, but it is horrifying and dangerous and sad. Aside from the four Eagle Scouts who were killed in a storm last week, thousands have been evacuated from their homes. Businesses and agriculture have been submerged in water that is noxious and full of sewage, farm chemicals, and fuel. As an alumna of the University of Iowa, I was personally horrified to hear that sixteen university buildings have taken in water, including the main library, the brand new journalism building, and a small non-denominational church.

  • Right now, Iowa’s Jewish communities are holding up well, but they anticipate needing help in the near future. Synagogues in Mason City and Dubuque have taken on water, and will likely need money and supplies once the waters have receded and they can clean up. The Jewish Federation in Des Moines is accepting contributions to be distributed for general flood relief, wherever it may do the most good. You may send a check, earmarked "Flood Relief" to the Jewish Federation, 910 Polk Boulevard, Des Moines, IA, 50312.
  • Hillel is talking about organizing a volunteer rebuilding trip in late summer when the waters have receded and damage has been assessed. If you’re interested in such a trip, contact the University of Iowa Hillel.
  • And the Midwest isn’t the only area being hit by record-breaking floods this year. In China, dozens have been killed and more than a million people have been forced from their homes as waters rise in the Guangdong Province. The Red Cross Society of China is on the ground in Guangdong distributing supplies to people whose homes are submerged. Donate to the RCSC here.


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