National Lutheran News

More Natural Disasters, more Lutheran relief

ELCA, LCMS continue to respond to emergencies around the world

Church members in the nation’s two largest Lutheran denominations continue to rise to the challenge of helping victims of natural disasters. Benev-olence dollars contributed by members of the Evangel-ical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) are being put to good use in a season of violent weather.

At the end of October, the ELCA allocated $675,000 to help people affected by natural and human-made disasters around the world, according to Dr. Belletech Deressa, director for international development and disaster response, ELCA Global Mission.

ELCA International Disaster Response sent $200,000 to Church World Service (CWS), which is distributing food, blankets and other relief items to survivors of an October 8 earthquake in Pakistan.

ELCA International Disaster Response sent $100,000 to Lutheran World Relief (LWF), which is helping citizens of southern Sudan to return home. Since 1982 the civil war there has killed millions of southern Sudanese and displaced millions more, Deressa said. With the recent peace agreement between the government of Sudan and Sudan Peoples Liberation Front, citizens of southern Sudan are now returning home, she said.

ELCA International Disaster Response also sent funds to Action by Churches Together (ACT), which is involved in relief and recovery operations in other parts of the world:

* $100,000 to support recovery efforts in Central America, after heavy rains from Hurricane Stan caused death and destruction, particularly in El Salvador and Guatemala.

* $75,000 to distribute food for people affected by drought conditions in Mozambique.

* $50,000 to support repatriation efforts for An-golan refugees in Zambia.

* $50,000 to resettle returnees in Angola.

The LCMS is also working to bring relief to those surviving disasters in South Asia, Mexico and Central America. LCMS World Relief/Human Care is now accepting donations toward emergency relief for those affected by the October 8 earthquake that killed 80,000 people in South Asia, mostly in Pakistan.

The agency is also receiving funds to be sent to help with recovery following flooding and landslides in Mexico and Central Amer-ica. Over 3,000 died when Hurricane Stan dropped 20 inches of rain there on October 4.

Members of local congregations, geographical synods and districts in both ELCA and LCMS continue to work to help fellow Lutherans whose churches and lives were damaged by hurricanes Katrina (which struck Louisiana and Mississippi), Rita (which made landfall in Texas and Louisiana) and, most recently, Wilma (which hit south Florida).