FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper
Colorado commemorates anniversary of September 2013 floods, focuses on 100 percent long-term recovery for local communities
DENVER — Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today marked the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2013 floods by praising the resiliency Coloradans have shown in the year since the state’s worst natural disaster, and pledging continued support for long-term recovery.
“The flooding that began nearly a year ago will be forever etched in Colorado history. But what will also endure is the story of how Coloradans responded. Faced with this disaster, the people of our state once again showed their resilience and rugged optimism,” Gov. Hickenlooper said. “It has been a privilege to work with Coloradans during our recovery. Their tireless efforts and commitment are inspiring and keep us moving forward with the same urgency and focus we had just days after the flood.”
The framework for the state’s long-term recovery is in place, the governor said, and the state will continue to support the recovery vision of local communities, by advocating for much-needed financial resources, providing recovery expertise at the state level and maintaining a strong sense of urgency to keep recovery efforts on track.
“We are committed to a 100-percent recovery for local communities. It will take time, but working together with our local, state and federal partners we will continue to build back better and stronger,” Hickenlooper said.
The historic flooding started on Sept. 11, 2013, impacting more than 24 counties and more than 2,000 square miles in Colorado. The floods took 10 lives, and forced the evacuation of more than 18,000 residents, while causing an estimated $3 billion in damage, including $1.7 billion to the state’s infrastructure, $623 million to housing and $555 billion to the state’s economy.
A year later, 21 families remain in temporary housing, state and local highways have reopened and permanent repairs are under way, and long-term recovery efforts are moving forward at the county and municipal levels.Working closely with the congressional delegation, nearly $1.5 billion in state and federal funding has been allocated for the recovery, including over $300 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery (DR) funds.
Last week, the state submitted an amendment to Colorado’s Action Plan for the second allocation of $199.3 million in CDBG-DR funds. The Substantial Amendment outlines how the critical funds will be used to support local recovery efforts from the floods and recent presidentially declared wildfires, identifying programs for housing, infrastructure, economic revitalization, agriculture, planning and resiliency, and watershed restoration.
“The recovery from the floods has been a collaborative effort since day one: the governor, the congressional delegation, community partners, the General Assembly and non-profits,” said Molly Urbina, Colorado’s Chief Recovery Officer. “However, we still have a significant unmet need. It’s unlikely that everyone will be made whole, but we will continue to aggressively seek funding for long-term recovery effort.”
Urbina, who succeeded IHS Executive Chairman Jerre Stead as chief recovery officer in February, said the state’s vision will remain closely aligned with local communities.
“ Disasters start locally and end locally,” Urbina said. “Local communities each have their own plans for recovery. At the state level, we will support these plans and visions by advocating for funding resources and providing technical expertise. Collaboration is the key as we look to the future.’
Colorado will commemorate the anniversary of the floods and celebrate how Coloradans have united to help communities recover with a statewide day of service, Colorado United Day of Service, on Sept. 13. Coloradans around the state can volunteer for projects at ColoradoUnited.com.