Valley Forge, Pa. -- The American Baptist World Relief Office has provided $10,000 from One Great Hour of Sharing funds to assist in relief efforts in the aftermath of damaging flooding in Sixaola, Costa Rica.
This money, released to American Baptist International Ministries, will be used in Costa Rica to fund emergency food, beds, sheets, medicine, shoes and clothing, among other commodities.
Jim and Sara Wiegner, American Baptist International Ministries missionaries in Costa Rica, reported late last week that Sixaola, a town of 4,000 people, was "filled with an 8" thick, creamy, chocolate blanket of mud; water is in puddles everywhere and local electric and water services are very sporadic."
The flooding is the worst in Sixaola since 1958. The Wiegners noted: "There is a shortage of food and most people have lost beds, furniture, clothes, stoves, sewing machines, TVs, radios, washing machines, shoes and anything else that can float down the river from a flooded house. People were not prepared for floodwaters that reached 10-12 feet high [and remained at that level for two days]. Most peoples' businesses and houses were flooded even on their second floors. The clean-up work is overwhelming."
Stores, which were stocked for the Christmas season, suffered considerable damage.
"The losses are extreme but the hope is still much alive," the Wiegners said. "Everyone is very thankful that no one lost his or her life in the flood. Many told about daring rescues and near-death experiences [and] everyone praised God for His safekeeping.... Since the floods the Baptist Federation of Costa Rica has mobilized churches to raise money, send food [and provide] youth to help out in the clean-up."
Jim Wiegner joined Baptist leaders and others in the region in an onsite visit to the affected area last week.
By Albert H. Lee