As we look at the world around us, we are dismayed at the natural disasters that have hit people of lands close and distant -- from Puerto Rico to Japan, from Pakistan to Alaska, and more. If you would like to contribute, 100% of your contribution will go directly to the relief efforts. You can make your check out to Grace and put "LDR" in the memo line or send your contribution through Tithe.ly to Grace and put "LDR" in the designation box.
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"Trust in [God] at all times, O people; pour out your heart before [God]; God is a refuge for us”
Over the weekend, several disasters made the news. Here are some of the biggest ones:
In Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Hurricane Fiona brought torrential rainfall and devastating flooding to the islands. Almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is again experiencing an island-wide blackout and damaged buildings and infrastructure. Lutheran Disaster Response is working with the Caribbean Synod to develop an immediate response in impacted communities.
In Alaska, the remnants of Typhoon Merbok have caused widespread flooding along the state’s western coast. This was one of the worst storms in recent decades in Alaska, with strong waves and heavy rainfall damaging homes, seawalls, roads and other infrastructure. Officials are planning a quick relief period before the water freezes. Lutheran Disaster Response is working with the Alaska Synod to address the needs of those impacted by the storm.
In Japan, Typhoon Nanmadol hit Kyushu, the country’s southernmost main island. At least two people were killed and dozens more injured in the storm, which moved northward over Honshu. Wind gusts of over 145 mph and heavy rainfall caused at least one landslide and damaged homes and businesses. We have been in touch with the ELCA’s global personnel in Japan.
In Papua New Guinea, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit on Sep. 11, with ensuing aftershocks. At least three people died, and many buildings and roads were impacted. There is a strong Lutheran presence in the impacted area, including a Lutheran nursing school connected to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELCPNG) that was damaged in the earthquake. We have been in contact with the ELCPNG to discuss a possible response.
In Pakistan, the summer monsoon flooding is causing a widespread humanitarian crisis. The flooding has killed 1,500 people and up to 7 million people may be displaced. Lutheran Disaster Response is contributing to an ACT Alliance appeal that addresses the needs of flooded communities. Through the appeal, local partners will provide food, temporary shelter and bedding, rebuilding materials and psychosocial support.
These are just the disasters that made the biggest headlines. There are countless smaller disasters that don’t make the news. With your gifts to the Lutheran Disaster Response general fund, we can respond to as many as possible – whenever and wherever they strike.
Again and again, you show up for our neighbors impacted by disasters in the United States and around the world. Thank you. Please join me in prayer and partnership to support all those impacted.
In Christ’s service,
The Rev. Daniel Rift
Director, ELCA World Hunger and Lutheran Disaster Response Fund
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America