One of the homes near Wilson Road in Rockland. (Photo: Francis Tessier-Burns).

Flood relief turning towards recovery

Jodie Densmore says flood relief in the area is slowly turning to recovery.

Densmore is the executive director of United Way Prescott-Russell. She says the organization is currently accepting donations for those affected by flooding in Prescott-Russell.

Usually, it would collect donations into a single fund, however, she says many people have been donating specifically for recovery in Clarence-Rockland, so United Way has set up two different funds: one for Clarence-Rockland and the other for the rest of Prescott-Russell.

“We have to balance the view of all of Prescott-Russell with the need in Clarence-Rockland,” she says.

She adds that many people have done fundraising on their own and then given the proceeds to United Way.

For example the Flood of Hope concert on May 20 in Clarence-Rockland raised about $10,000.

The Rockland Flood Relief 2017 Facebook group, which was instrumental in responding to the flood, has continued fundraising. As of June 1, it’s raised more than $31,000 with a few events still to come, such as a golf tournament at Hammond Golf Club on June 16.

Densmore says she wants to reach out to the Facebook group to try and coordinate the distribution of the money based on need.

Unmet Needs

Densmore says these funds aren’t replacements for insurance or the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program, which was activated shortly after the flood. 

United Way, she says, acts in a support role with community partners and the could help fund specific programs. For example, the province’s program doesn’t cover claims pertaining to secondary residences that were flooded, that may be an area, Densmore says, the organization could step in. 

In the coming weeks, the organization will start assessing residents’ more long-term needs when it comes to recovery.

One way to do so is through “unmet needs committees.” The committee would hold meetings where residents voice what type of support they need, which isn’t always financial.

A few years ago, Densmore was working with the Red Cross during the aftermath of a flood in British Columbia and she says at one of these meetings one of the residents needed to save a horse that was left abandoned for a few days without food. A few other residents stepped up with a boat and a trailed and they managed to save the horse.

“It can really be anything,” says Densmore.

She adds that this type of recovery has never been done in Prescott-Russell before, “so we’re learning as we go.”