The death toll has risen to 14 in the Oso mudslide as rescuers have been giving their all to reach any survivors before a storm hits on Tuesday. It was actually area residents who found several of their neighbors’ bodies. There are still many unaccounted for– over a hundred missing persons reports have been made to the authorities. Entire families are missing. KOMO reported that a family dog was rescued from the rubble, reinforcing hopes that there could still be people rescued from this nightmare as well.
There are more ways to help. Pastor Gary Ray of the Oso Community Chapel is at ground zero– many of you saw a photo of his church in the media yesterday. Pastor Ray said that Oso Chapel is the only church on the 29 mile corridor from east Arlington to Darrington, making him the only pastor in the area. Logically his church is becoming a local meeting place and recovery center and he’s networking with other churches and organizations to provide for his community’s needs.
Some people in Oso can’t get to nearby towns like Arlington easily if at all. Much of the community support and relief has been centered in other towns– thankfully the Salvation Army, Arlington Foursquare Church, and other organizations have been bringing supplies to Oso.
The needs of this community will extend far beyond the initial rescue and recovery, however– many residents and their pets had to evacuate, an estimated 30 homes have been destroyed, and a significant percentage of the Oso area’s population is missing.
Oso Community Chapel is going to be putting together care packages for community members and can use the following items:
-nonperishable canned foods and meat
-bathroom items (such as shampoo, soap, toothbrush, razors, etc.)
-cleaning supplies (such as paper towels, rubber gloves, mops, hand sanitizer, bleach)
-dog and cat food
-general cleaning sprays/all purpose spray cleaners
They are planning on setting up an Internet center at the church so area residents can stay in touch with their loved ones. They also plan on using the church as a base to serve meals, print paperwork, make phone calls, and to find support, counseling, and encouragement. Pastor Ray said upcoming community meetings will likely reveal long-term needs like transportation assistance, daycare support, and assistance with home cleaning and rebuilding efforts.
While some churches are diving into help, and the word has gone out to some of the larger disaster relief organizations, there is no question that Oso needs outside assistance. There’s also no guarantee that the larger organizations will respond. Many are praying that government assistance can be channeled through local faith-based organizations, such as Oso Chapel, so that help can be provided at ground zero by caregivers who know the emotional and physical needs of those impacted by the slide. There were economic needs in Oso before this happened; now lower income residents are strained all the more.
Besides donating to the Red Cross or at other places I’ll list below, you might want to consider donating to the Oso Chapel as well. You can reach the Oso Chapel at 360/862-3550 or osochapel(at)gmail.com. Per Pastor Ray, individuals who wish to provide financial support can send a check made out to Oso Community Chapel, Re: Disaster Relief Efforts, 22318 SR 530, Oso, WA 98223.
I’d strongly encourage others in the church to reach out to see what they can do– it’s at times like this we need all the parts of the body of Christ in action. We need to be Jesus to this town. Whether it’s spreading the word that the victims of this disaster need help or donating time, money, groceries, or what have you, we can all do something. As always, you might want to check with the church to get a feel for current needs before making a donation.
-The Salvation Army had boots on the ground in the area in short order and was the first organization I know of to ask what the Oso Chapel needed when contacted. Click here to learn ways to donate to their disaster relief efforts.
-Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington is accepting cash donations.
-The Food Pavilion in Arlington is accepting food and cash donations.
-The Everett Animal Shelter is providing help to domestic animals.
-New, 3/25/14: KOMO Radio reported that the Chuckanut Valley Veterinary Clinic in Burlington has been providing care to dogs who survived the mudslide.They are accepting donations.
-Also new, 3/25/14: KOMO Radio said that the United Way of Snohomish County has set up a recovery fund for mudslide relief.
-3/26/14: KING 5 is helping advertise Oso Strong t-shirts. Proceeds are being used to help families affected by the slide.
-3/26/14: The Herald has published a long list of charities and fundraisers here.Check it out!
-3/27/14: KCPQ and Umpqua Bank have created an account for the benefit of the Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation’s Oso Landslide Relief Fund. You can donate at any Umpqua Bank branch and KCPQ says 100 percent of those donations will go to the relief fund.
-3/27/14: KING 5’s Jesse Jones is soliciting donations to buy gas cards for Darrington residents who currently have a much longer drive to get out of town.
Since the beginning, many churches have been collecting donations as well. Many denominations have funds set up for events like this, so if you’re more comfortable giving through church, there’s likely a way to do so.
These Facebook pages have been created to help victims.
Please do your homework before giving to unknown people or organizations. Scam artists always pop up after disasters and attach themselves to sincere efforts to help. Many like to make phone calls soliciting donations and often use names that sound very similar to legitimate organizations’ names. Don’t give anyone who calls you financial or personal information over the phone. You already have the option of calling a legitimate organization and donating.Let me know if you learn of any scams– I have no problem alerting others and publicly shaming them.
-3/30/14: Snohomish County has started a Facebook page in order to coordinate relief efforts.
KING 5 said there is a Lost Pets of Snohomish Mudslide Facebook page helping people find their missing pets and livestock.
KING 5 also mentioned the assistance being given to horses by the Northwest Equine Stewardship Center. There is more information on how to help animals at How to help the Oso landslide pets. They noted that some people in the area are struggling just to feed their animals right now.
-4/8/14: Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue Helicopter Rescue is accepting donations. They are having a fundraiser at the Mountaineers Program Center in Seattle on Saturday, 4/19/14.
The Herald issued a needed reminder today:
The only reliable way for Oso-area families to check on missing loved ones is through the county mudslide hotline, 425-388-5088, officials said at a press conference Monday. See also www.safeandwell.org.
Here’s info. on a 2011 slide in the area from the state’s Department of Natural Resources blog.
The Daily Mail has posted some of the better photos of the disaster. It gives you a better sense of how widespread the devastation is than some other sites.
The Seattle Times posted this map of the mudslide area.
There has also been speculation that recent small earthquakes helped trigger the mudslide. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, headquartered at the University of Washington, has a site that tracks earthquakes in our state.
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
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