Lutheran Disaster Response

Our response to disasters in the U.S. and around the world; look for sections of this blog related to specific disaster locations. Comments are welcomed and moderated.

Australia: Renewed Flooding in Queensland

Posted on February 7, 2012 by Matthew Ley

Flooding in the southeast part of Australia seems a bit like deja vu. This same area of the states Queensland and New South Wales was hit by major flooding in January 2011. According to the Lutheran Church of Australia, the damages have not reached the same levels as last year. Though coming on the heels of last year’s flood the effects may be amplified as people are still recovering. Please keep the people of this area and the Lutheran Church of Australia in prayer, that they may be granted the patience and peace of God in this time of renewed disaster.

Thanks be to God – Cyclone Yasi, threatening Australia, was a “fizzer”

Posted on February 2, 2011 by meganbradfield

The Editor of The Lutheran (Australia), Linda Macqueen, sent a positive message this afternoon regarding Cyclone Yasi that was threatening the northeast coast of Australia.  At one point, the storm was listed as a category 5, with some weather reports suggesting the size of the storm system to be roughly twice the size of Hurricane Katrina.  The eastern coastal region of Australia is currently recovering from record setting floods. ~Megan

Cairns and Townville, the major regional centres of North Queensland, have been spared from the anticipated massive destruction of Category 5 Cyclone Yasi, which crossed the coast at around midnight last night. Lutherans from those communities reported this morning that, while they experienced an uneasy night, the cyclone did not appear to be anything out of the ordinary.

“Thanks be to God that the cyclone did not cross the coast at a highly populated area’, LCA Queensland District President Noel Noack, said this morning. ‘While we feel for the people directly in its path, who have lost homes and property, we can thank God that there were no lives lost.’

This was the first cyclone Pastor Lou and Hazel Pfeiffer of Townsville had experienced. During the preparations they had felt anxious, but during the cyclone they were not afraid. ‘We were even relaxed enough to play cards’, said Hazel.

General Church Council member David Spanagel, of Cairns, said that he and wife Pam didn’t feel they needed to go to their bunker at any stage during the cyclone. At around midnight they felt that it posed no danger to them and they went to bed. ‘Here in Cairns, we’ve dodged a bullet’, he said.

There are small Lutheran communities at Mission Beach and Tully, which took the full blunt of Yasi, but at this stage it is not known how they fared.

Written by: Linda Macqueen, Editor of The Lutheran (Australia)

Australian Floods: God’s People Respond

Posted on January 23, 2011 by Matthew Ley

Flooding in Queensland. Image from LCA

Earlier this month the Australian state of Queensland, composing the northeast portion of the country, was hit with major flooding along its eastern sea border. It was considered some of the worst flooding the area has seen in over 35 years.  In reading the news coming out from the area I’m reminded of Katrina and the devastation ravaged on New Orleans.  What also reminded me of Katrina is reading about how the local churches and population as well as people from across the county have been volunteering time and talents to help those affected by the flood.

Below are two articles written by Linda MacQueen, editor of the Lutheran Church in Australia’s (LCA) magazine The Lutheran. The first one highlights the personal story of Trevor Ruthenberg as he lends a helping hand. The second describes how local churches are playing an immediate role while still looking forward to how they can address the long-term needs caused by the flooding.

Trevor’s Story: After Rains, Love Reigns

Role of Local Churches: Congregations Will Support Victims For Long Haul

To read more stories check out the LCA site’s coverage of the flooding and response: Floods Disaster 2011

The Lutheran Church of Australia responds to Queensland Floods

Posted on January 14, 2011 by meganbradfield

Flood waters continue in the Australian state of Queensland.  The Lutheran Church of Australia is responding to those in need.  You may be interested in checking out the Australia Floods video produced by the Lutheran Church of Australia.  Check out the ELCA Disaster Website

Lutheran Church of Australia office in Queensland.

to see more information on LCA’s response and ways to contribute.  I am also including in this post a letter from LCA pastor James Haak who lives in a community devistated by the floods…

Just a few words to update you with how things are in the Lockyer Valley.

At the end of the week, most of the waters have now receded below minor flood levels and people are commencing the difficult task of cleaning up. In the eastern end of the valley in Laidley and surrounding areas such as Forest Hill, getting rid of the mud and silt that entered homes and drying things out has become a priority. The Laidley manse did have water enter the garage, but not the manse itself. In the western areas, the town of Grantham and its environs still remains a no go area. Police still have the area declared a crime scene as they, the SES, and the military continue the task of searching for bodies in the flood debris. Many of the parish who live in the Grantham and Helidon areas were affected in some way by flooding. I know of one parish member whose house has been totally lost with many more in the parish having lost all or some of their possessions to the waters. Cleaning up is only part of the story as it will take many months for farmers to begin receiving an income again. We are grateful that, to date, it appears that the Lutheran community has been spared any loss of life, but in such a small community as Grantham, many personally know one or more of those who have died.

For those of us who were spared flooding, the worse thing remains the inconvenience as many roads remain closed and even basic necessities such as bread, milk and fuel are in short supply. Local supermarkets are still restricting quantities of the necessities that people can purchase.

We thank our God for your expressions of care and support during this difficult time, and are grateful that we have been spared from an even worse disaster.

In Christ,
Pastor James Haak