ELCA Disaster Response Calls for Funds

"Meeting God in the Ruins"
( [email protected] ) Jan 27, 2004 12:49 PM EST

The Lutheran Disaster Response called upon its member bodies to help continue recovery work in 10 sites struck by the “worst, largest, most intensive, highest and most widespread” new disasters, Jan. 26.

"[2003] was a year of unusually intensive and deadly disasters, affecting large numbers of vulnerable people from coast to coast. Many disasters attracted media attention because they were 'sensational' while others were largely ignored," said the Rev. Gilbert B. Furst, director of Lutheran Disaster Response.

Continued efforts are needed in several states across the U.S., including Arizona, where destructive fires caused more than $5.5 million in damage. More than 320 homes were lost and another 115 sustained damages. Similarly, in Southern California, deadly wildfires burned more acres and damaged more buildings than any other fire in the state’s history. 22 people lost their lives, and 3,600 homes were destroyed. In the Midwest states including Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, more than 410 tornadoes were reported.

Lutheran Disaster Response-New York (LDR-NY) "continues to coordinate multiple organizations providing assistance for unmet needs. As of June United Methodists, Episcopalians and Lutherans provided more than $1 million for unmet needs in lower Manhattan. A newly revived interfaith [group] now brings new partners to the table including Church World Service, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Orthodox community," said Furst.

In Ohio, heavy rains caused rivers and creeks to flood several areas across the state. Also, in central Texas, floods displaced more than 3 million people. In September, Hurricane Isabel struck Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, leaving millions in need of assistance.

In addition to natural disasters, recovery work is needed in the aftermath of Sept. 11 attack in Washington D.C. and New York.

"The third year of long-term response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, has begun," said Furst. "The churches have provided about $9.5 million so far" for Sept. 11th disaster response, said Furst.

Resources have been developed to help Lutheran Disaster Response volunteers and survivors of disasters cope and prepare. "Meeting God in the Ruins" is a journal booklet for volunteers. According to Furst, the booklet is designed for volunteers "to reflect on their experiences and issues of poverty and justice.”

In addition, a resource for congregations called "Disaster and Disability in a Land of Faithfulness" was developed to "include persons with disabilities in congregational disaster preparedness."

To help such continuing efforts, the ELCA Domestic Disaster Response center asked for funds to be sent to:

P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, Illinois 60694-1764

Credit card gift line: 1-800-638-3522

Credit card gifts via Internet: http://www.elca.org/disaster