GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – Vice President Joe Biden toured the damage caused by flooding in Colorado on Monday and then held a news conference where he promised the federal government will help rebuild, but that wasn’t enough for some flood victims.
Biden seemed moved by the damage he witnessed after touring the 2,000 square mile flood zone throughout Colorado.
“I’ve never felt anything like what the people in these counties are going through,” Biden said at the news conference held at a Federal Emergency Management Center in Greeley.
Biden was joined by Gov. John Hickenlooper, FEMA administrator Craig Fugate and other Colorado lawmakers, including Sen. Michael Bennet and Reps. Gory Gardner and Mike Coffman.
The vice president’s helicopter tour followed the trail of damage through 17 Colorado counties.
“One of the things I found the most fascinating and devastating in the helicopter ride is there are so many small communities that are literally isolated,” Biden said.
In a speech to the nation and to those effected most, Biden promised relief.
“I promise you we’re not going away. The state, local and federal government is not leaving,” Biden said. “We are going to meet the needs as a consequence of this disaster.”
Diana Balderes, whose family’s mobile home was washed away in the flood, said Biden’s promise is already falling short.
“We don’t have anything right now,” she said. “We lost everything. Everything we worked for, everything we’ve lived for we lost it in one second.”
“There have been a lot of promises ever since this first started and we still haven’t seen the results,” she said. “Just words … we have to see actions, actually.”
Biden told the crowd that $35 million has already been approved for just road and bridge reconstruction, but even he said after his tour that’s not going to be enough. State officials are reporting Colorado may need federal assistance closer to $500 million to get back to a new normal.
Colorado Floods: How To Help
The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.