News / USA

    Missing Count Down to Six in Colorado Flooding; Body Found

    Rows of vehicles lie flooded as search-and-rescue teams fanned out across Colorado. Sept. 17, 2013.Rows of vehicles lie flooded as search-and-rescue teams fanned out across Colorado. Sept. 17, 2013.
    x
    Rows of vehicles lie flooded as search-and-rescue teams fanned out across Colorado. Sept. 17, 2013.
    Rows of vehicles lie flooded as search-and-rescue teams fanned out across Colorado. Sept. 17, 2013.
    Reuters
    Search teams in flood-ravaged areas of Colorado have accounted for all but a half dozen people, down from hundreds initially reported missing in the disaster nearly two weeks ago. Authorities said on Monday the body of an eighth victim has been recovered.
     
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden surveyed the devastated region by helicopter and pledged that disaster relief would continue even if there were a government shutdown stemming from a congressional budget clash over President Barack Obama's healthcare program.
     
    “They will not shut down (recovery operations) if Congress does not fund the government,” Biden said during a brief appearance at a Federal Emergency Management Agency center in Greeley, Colorado, north of Denver. “The help is going to remain.”
     
    President Barack Obama has declared nine of Colorado's hardest-hit counties a major disaster area, making residents there eligible for direct federal grants to repair their flood-damaged homes, replace personal property and provide rental assistance.
     
    The declaration also provides unemployment payments of up to 26 weeks to workers left temporarily jobless by the disaster and makes special low-interest loans available to farmers and small businesses to help cover their uninsured flood losses.
     
    Authorities were winding down search-and-rescue efforts even as more heavy rain prompted a renewed flood warning for some areas. Biden was accompanied on his hour-long aerial tour by FEMA chief Craig Fugate, Governor John Hickenlooper and several members of Colorado's congressional delegation.
     
    After evacuating thousands of survivors left stranded in washed-out areas of Larimer and Boulder counties, northwest of Denver, emergency management authorities said their focus has shifted to recovery initiatives and thorough damage assessments.
     
    A new burst of heavy rains overnight prompted the National Weather Service to post a flood warning for the town of Kersey along the engorged South Platte River, just east of Greeley. The river was expected to crest about a foot above flood stage late Monday or early Tuesday.
     
    Additional flooding was also possible in saturated fields and creeks farther east in low-lying stretches of Logan, Washington and Morgan counties, weather forecasters said.
     
    The worst flooding to strike Colorado in about four decades swept the eastern slopes of the Rockies and prairie farmlands downstream the week before last, causing property losses across 17 counties estimated at $2 billion, including the destruction of at least 1,800 homes.
     
    The confirmed death toll from the flooding rose to eight when Larimer County officials reported the body of a 79-year-old flood victim, Evelyn Starner, had been found on Saturday.
     
    Six more Larimer County residents remained listed as unaccounted for, down from 82 on Friday. Search teams reached the last remote, isolated pockets of the flood zone over the weekend, county sheriff's spokesman John Schulz said.
     
    Unless they surface in the next few days, those six are likely to be added to the list of missing and presumed dead, he said.
     
    Starner was one of three Larimer County residents who had been listed as missing and presumed dead after their homes were washed away more than a week ago along the Big Thompson River. A 1976 flood disaster in the same vicinity claimed more than 140 lives.
     
    Starner's remains were discovered near a ranch on the banks of the river. The bodies of two others believed swept away in Larimer County have yet to be recovered.
     
    SOME OPT NOT TO LEAVE
     
    Compared with the estimated 1,200 people statewide whose whereabouts were unknown in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the unaccounted-for roster has fallen sharply as families reunite, evacuees register at shelters and survivors turn up in areas initially cut off by the floods.
     
    Schulz said the last 16 people still awaiting evacuation in Larimer County were rescued on Saturday, but nearly 370 others have opted to stay put even after losing sewage, fresh running water and other utility services.
     
    The widespread flooding along the so-called Front Range of the Colorado Rockies, a region encompassing the state's most highly populated areas, was unleashed by heavy rains that started Sept. 9 and continued almost unabated for a week.
     
    Days after the deluge began, floodwaters roared off rain-soaked mountainsides through canyons that carried torrents of runoff into communities below, sweeping homes from their foundations, crumbling roads and bridges and initially leaving some 12,000 people stranded.
     
    Floodwaters spread out onto the plains east of the Rockies, swamping farmland along South Platte River and oil and gas production sites in the region, creating a toxic stew of industrial contaminants and wastewater.
     
    Farmers in the northeastern corner of the state were particularly worried about their top cash crop, corn, which could be lost if water that has inundated low-lying prairie fields fails to drain away before the October harvest.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.