Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In our weekly updates, we share stories of our presence and impact around the world: from disaster response, to refugee and immigration ministry, to ongoing sustainable development projects in impoverished areas. Catch up on updates you missed, or find stories you want to read and share again! Or, subscribe to receive weekly email updates.
As wildfires continue to spread across much of the west, Week of Compassion is learning more about the widespread impacts and needs. In Oregon, an historic number of fires have burned more than 1 million acres of land, and parts of the state currently have the worst air quality in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people are under evacuation orders-- including more than 100 Disciples households.
In the midst of this ongoing emergency, churches are working to serve their neighbors. Local partnerships are critical, and existing ministries provide opportunities for response in a crisis situation. Congregations in Oregon are working with other leaders and relief organizations to identify specific needs in their area. In partnership with the Region, Week of Compassion is supporting congregations as they serve their wider communities. This response through local churches allows our impact to reach even farther, as Disciples work to meet the critical needs of their neighbors.
Following Hurricane Laura, more than 70,000 people remain without power; several areas are under curfew because of debris, downed power lines, and lack of water and sewer. Now, there is a heat advisory for much of the affected area-- even as people begin working on clean-up with no electricity and limited access to water. The state of Louisiana has received a federal disaster declaration for public assistance, and six parishes (Louisiana counties) qualify for individual household assistance. Damage assessments are still in the early stages.
Multiple wildfires continue to burn across California, including three major fires surrounding the Bay Area. The SCU Fire, affecting the East Bay Area, has burned over 360k acres and is only 15% contained. The CZU Fire, affecting South Bay and Santa Cruz areas, has burned over 78k acres and is only 17% contained. Meanwhile, the LNU Fire, in Sonoma and Napa Counties, is over 350k acres, with 27% containment. Across the three incidents, more than 1500 structures have been damaged or destroyed.
On August 10, a 40 mile wide derecho blew across the upper Midwest; the effects were especially devastating across a large portion of Iowa. During the derecho-- a sustained, powerful straight-line windstorm-- the winds at times exceeded 100 miles per hour. Those are wind speeds equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.
Update on Hurricane Isaias: After skirting the eastern coasts of Florida and Georgia, Hurricane Isaias made landfall near the border of South and North Carolina and will bring rain and winds along the Eastern Seaboard through the day. So far, Disciples have fared well, and Week of Compassion staff is in conversation with partners to help provide relief in the complex COVID-19 environment.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps. ~Psalm 85:10-13
On Sunday, Week of Compassion learned from our partners in the Philippines that Typhoon Vongfong had made landfall in Luzon. Evacuations were complicated on this highly populated island because of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Cyclone Amphan is rapidly gaining strength in the South Pacific and threatens many extremely vulnerable areas-- including Cox’s Bazaar, the refugee camp in Bangladesh where more than 1 million Rohingya people live. Last week, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the camp. Clearly, this is a dangerous confluence of events in parts of the world where people are already struggling from the effects of poverty and violence. We are grateful for our partners who continue to work for the health and safety of vulnerable people, even in the most challenging circumstances. Please join us in prayer for those affected by, and in the path of, these storms. We will share more as we learn more.
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I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:15-16)
On May 28 of 2019, a series of severe tornadoes caused widespread damage throughout Ohio, especially in and around the city of Dayton.
Week of Compassion is responding both locally and globally to the effects of COVID-19 and its impact on communities. To donate to this response, please designate your gifts "COVID-19 Response."