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.

Guatemala: 7.5-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Country

Posted on November 7, 2012 by Matthew Ley

This morning a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala killing at least 15 people and was felt as far away as Mexico City. As details continue to pour in please keep the people of Guatemala and our companion, the Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala (ILAG), in prayer. Below is an update from ILAG on the situation.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This morning we had an earthquake off the coast of Guatemala that registered 7.5 on the Richter scale. It was felt throughout Guatemala with the exception of the Peten. We are on an institutional red alert throughout the country in case of aftershocks. The department of San Marcos suffered damage to roads and buildings. Quiche reported power outages– ILA Milagro de Dios, Las Rosas is in that region. Cell phones are not reliable at the moment. We talked to Jorge Mario Aba who is currently in Coban receiving HIV AIDS training with Pastor Karen Castillo and Irving Poou; they felt the earthquake but are well. The Lutheran Center did not suffer any damage and all staff are accounted for.

Thank you for your prayers. We will keep you updated if there is further activity.

In Christ,
Amanda Olson de Castillo

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Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond locally and globally in times of need. Donate now.

Central America Floods: It’s Not the Rain, But the Type of Rain

Posted on October 27, 2011 by Matthew Ley

The following report from the LWF (Lutheran World Federation) gives an update of the situation following the deluge that has been hitting Centeral America since early this month. The issue is not just that it has been raining consistently but that the rains have been extremely intense. This has caused massive flooding and mudslides throughout the region that have led hundreds of thousands to be displaced and over 100 fatalities.

Please remember the people of the region in their time of need.

LWF post: LWF and ACT Take Action as UN Office Says 150,000 Affected in Salvador

ELCA Disaster Page: Central America Flooding

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Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.

Central America Floods: First Reports

Posted on October 19, 2011 by Matthew Ley

A road outside of San Salvador isturned to mud by torrential rains and has become impassible. Credit: ACT/Thomas Ekelund

Due to heavy rains over the past week countries from southern Mexico to Costa Rica have been flooded. The hardest hit countries have been Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Of greatest concern at this point are safety and access. With so much rain many have had to leave there homes, upwards of 700,000, yet with flooded roads being impassible there is little access to movement. This has made getting aid to people a major concern. And throughout the region there are many areas prone to mudslides, which have already led to over 90 deaths. Another concern is that crops that are just getting ready to be harvested will be lost in the flooding. This will lead to a double tragedy with an immediate food shortage and a lack of seed for next year’s crop.

The ELCA, through its Internatial Disaster Program, is staying in contact with our companion churches in the region and the Lutheran World Federation to assess the situation and possible responses. The ELCA already has funds positioned in Guatemala(~$20,000) and has released funds for Nicaragua ($3,153) that will be used to help meet the immediate needs of the region. As the situation develops we will be posting information on the ELCA Disaster webpage and here on the blog.

For an initial report from the region, see the ACT article by Thomas Ekelund Central America: death toll from torrential rains rises.