Late Sunday afternoon, an evacuation order went out in Oroville and other towns in Yuba, Sutter and Butte counties of California. The evacuation, having forced over 100,000 people from their homes, was ordered when a hole was discovered in the emergency spillway of the Oroville Dam.
Carol Roberts, CEO of LSS of Northern California, a resident of the Oroville community, told us that the level of the lake was dropping, relieving pressure on the spillway but there was still a possibility of “catastrophic failure.” According to the LA Times, this failure could send a 30-foot wall of water down the hillside into Feather River.
Workers begun repairing the erosion at the spillway and are working to stay ahead of a forecasted storm system approaching the area.
Two nearby, Lutheran congregations – Faith Lutheran Church of Chico, CA and First Lutheran Church of Orland, CA –offered to provide shelter and food support for evacuees. “As the winter storms fill Lake Oroville and so many of our community are forced to flee their homes, we find our hope in Christ who calms the waters, Pastor Ben of Faith Lutheran said in a message to his congregants. “And we remember, that we as the church are called to be Christ’s body and to participate in providing that peace in the midst of fear.”
As of this afternoon, the evacuation order has been reduced to an evacuation warning. This allows people to return to their homes but they are encouraged to remain vigilant. Lutheran Disaster Response will continue to monitor the situation and hold the community in our prayers.
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Continue to pray for displaced persons in the U.S. and around the world, may God’s healing presence comfort them in their time of need.
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