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Lutheran Disaster Response

Situation Report: Kentucky Disasters

Situation:A map of the United States with Kentucky highlighted in blue.

In December 2021, western Kentucky was hit by a series of deadly and destructive tornadoes, destroying over 1,300 homes. In July 2022, record-setting floods inundated communities in eastern Kentucky. The flooding caused heavy damage to homes and local infrastructure. Recovery in both areas will takes years.

A white house with a black door and a window with black shutters on each side of the door.

A rebuilt house in eastern Kentucky.

 

Response:

Since December, Lutheran Disaster Response has been working closely with the Indiana-Kentucky Synod in developing long-term recovery plans for each disaster. In each region, the synod is collaborating with local partners to repair and rebuild homes damaged by the tornadoes and flooding. The grants from Lutheran Disaster Response are being used for construction material and labor costs.

 

 

Be part of the response:

Pray
Please pray for people who have been affected by the tornadoes and flooding in Kentucky over the past year. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need.

Give
Thanks to generous donations, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to respond quickly and effectively to disasters around the globe. Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response will be used to assist survivors of Hurricane Ian and other disasters around the world.

To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:

  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.
  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook, follow @ELCALDR on Twitter, and follow @ELCA_LDR on Instagram.
  • Download the situation report and share as a PDF.

Situation Report: Kentucky Flooding

Situation:Map of the United States with Kentucky highlighted.

Beginning on July 27, a line of severe storms dumped record amounts of rain on eastern Kentucky, overflowing rivers and creeks onto streets and neighborhoods. Rising waters damaged infrastructure, including roads, bridges and power lines, which hindered rescue efforts. The flooding destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings.

A photo of a building almost completely underwater.

Response:

To respond to the flooding, Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) is supporting the Indiana-Kentucky Synod to rebuild homes in Owsley County, one of the poorest counties in Kentucky. The homes all belong to families who wouldn’t have been able to rebuild without financial support. Additionally, the synod is replacing septic tanks for 25 families. LDR is also supporting Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, which accompanies Manna from Heaven, a feeding ministry in Myra, KY, that received an ELCA World Hunger Domestic Hunger Grant. It lost everything inside the building and the LDR grant will replace the building’s contents, including furniture and food storage appliances, as well as rewiring the electricity for the building.

Be part of the response:

Pray
Please pray for people who have been affected by the flooding in Kentucky. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need.

Give
Thanks to generous donations, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to respond quickly and effectively to disasters around the globe. Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response (U.S. Flooding) will be used entirely  (100%) to assist flood survivors.

To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:

  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.
  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook, follow @ELCALDR on Twitter, and follow @ELCA_LDR on Instagram.
  • Download the situation report and share as a PDF.

Situation Report: May Tornadoes

A map of the United States with South Dakota and Minnesota highlighted.Situation:

On the night of May 30, a series of storms, including tornadoes, swept through the Central Great Plains and Upper Mississippi Valley. In Minnesota, heavily affected communities included Eagle Bend, Clarissa and Browerville, where over 100 buildings were damaged. In South Dakota, a tornado impacted the area around the city of Brandon, severely damaging Beaver Valley Lutheran Church in Valley Springs.

 

 

A hallway destroyed by a tornado. Caption: Beaver Valley Lutheran ChurchResponse:

Lutheran Disaster Response is accompanying both the Northwestern Minnesota Synod and the South Dakota Synod as they respond to the tornadoes. The Northwestern Minnesota Synod will provide basic necessities to impacted community members in the Eagle Bend area. The South Dakota Synod is working with Beaver Valley Lutheran Church to assess its physical damage and begin rebuilding and recovery efforts. The grant from Lutheran Disaster Response will be used for storage units and office supplies to inform people of the changes to upcoming community events and worship services.

 

 

 

Be part of the response:

Pray
Please pray for people who have been affected by the tornadoes in South Dakota and Minnesota. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need.

Give
Thanks to generous donations, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to respond quickly and effectively to disasters around the globe. Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response (U.S. Tornadoes) will be used entirely  (100%) to assist tornado survivors.

To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:

  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.
  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook, follow @ELCALDR on Twitter, and follow @ELCA_LDR on Instagram.
  • Download the situation report and share as a PDF.

Situation Report: Kentucky Tornadoes

Situation

On the night of Dec. 10, a devastating outbreak of more than 30 tornadoes swept through six states. Kentucky was impacted the most, with more than 80 people reported dead and 1,300 homes destroyed.

Disaster survivors often seek FEMA assistance, but undocumented households may not be eligible and may have fears about seeking help from government or community resources due to the possibility of deportation, discrimination or other forms of retaliation.

 

 

 

Response

Church World Service, with support from Lutheran Disaster Response, is providing financial support for undocumented families who are unable to receive federal aid. CWS will respond to acute needs for resources and financial assistance and short-term community integration goals to promote the safety and stability of children and their families in the aftermath of the disaster. Additionally, Lutheran Disaster Response and the Indiana-Kentucky Synod are collaborating with Kentucky VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) to assist in the development of long-term recovery operations.

 

 

 

Be a part of the response:

Pray
Please pray for people who have been affected by the tornadoes in Kentucky. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need.

Give
Thanks to generous donations, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to respond quickly and effectively to disasters around the globe. Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response (U.S. Tornadoes) will be used in full (100%) to assist tornado survivors.

To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:

  • Sign up to receive Lutheran Disaster Response alerts.
  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.
  • Like Lutheran Disaster Response on Facebook, follow @ELCALDR on Twitter, and follow @ELCA_LDR on Instagram.
  • Download the situation report and share as a PDF.

Minot, ND: Field Report

This is Pastor Michael Stadie, Program Director for Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR).

Last week I returned from a week-long visit to the Minot, North Dakota area. As you know, the area was profoundly impacted by flooding in June of 2011. (Please see the previous blog post from Matthew Ley about the One-Year Anniversary events.)

While there, I had the opportunity to see the work going on at Hope Village, the volunteer and construction site for the rebuilding efforts by our affiliate, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota (LSSND), and other partners. Shirley Dykshoorn is the LDR coordinator for LSSND. While the actual volunteer housing portion of Hope Village is going on hiatus, the work will continue through the winter months with volunteers staying at “satellite” sites—area congregations. Shirley and her staff are doing a great job working at making sure the volunteers and materials are coming together to efficiently help with the rebuilding process.

While progress is being made, there is still a great need for rebuilding; something that will continue for several more years. There is a special need for skilled construction workers, especially electricians and plumbers. And what is true in Minot is also true for most of the other reconstruction sites—more skilled laborers would help more families move back into their homes.

During my time there, I also made these observations:

  • This flood is unique in that it impacted every quadrant of the city.
  • The way the river flows through the city means the flood impacted many neighborhoods that are isolated from one another. For many reasons, this slows the long term recovery process.
  • Because of the above reasons, as well as some others, the long term recovery process will take longer than most flooding events.
  • Lutheran Disaster Response will need to encourage volunteer teams to work in the Minot area for a longer time than normal.

Despite the challenges, there is hope shining through, literally. The New York Says Thank You Foundation work includes asking children to make “Stars of Hope.” Children from the Minot have made stars which been put on stakes and “planted” all around the area as a symbol of hope and encouragement. These multicolored stars not only brighten up the streets, they put a smile on the face of those driving through the areas still under construction as a reminder there is indeed hope, something that the people of Minot and the surrounding area live each day.

Northeast Minnesota: Field Report

This is Pastor Michael Stadie, Director of Lutheran Disaster Response.

This past week, I had the opportunity to do a field visit to Minnesota. While there, I spent time with Nancy Beers of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSS-MN); Nancy is the Lutheran Disaster Response Coordinator for the state. She is also the Director of the Camp Noah program, a ministry that works with children following a disaster, helping them to heal by processing their disaster experiences. To find out more about this program and how it makes a positive impact on the lives of children, please check out their website at www.lssmn.org/camp_noah. With the help of new staff members they are already planning ways to help children impacted by the recent disasters around the county as well as preparing for whatever disasters may be around the corner.

While Lutheran Disaster Response continues to monitor the situation in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama following Hurricane Isaac, it is important that we not lose sight of other parts of the country which have been impacted by disasters this past year. As you may know, most disasters do not reach the level of a federally declared disaster, which is a necessary trigger for many funding resources. While these disasters may be considered “small” on a national stage, for those who were impacted, these disasters are “huge”. This is in-part why we say no matter how big or small a disaster and no matter how much help comes from outside a community, the response is always a local one.

An example from earlier this summer is when Barnum, Moose Lake and Duluth, Minnesota were impacted by flooding that did not receive a federal disaster declaration. Pastor Karen Bockelman, a former member of the Northeastern Minnesota synod, came out of retirement to help work with congregations and communities as they engaged in their recovery efforts. Although new to disaster work, Karen has a great grasp of the needs and is a great asset to the recovery efforts. Since federal assistance is not available, the state legislature held a special session to address the needs of those impacted by the disaster. As part of the assistance package, LSS-MN recently began providing disaster case management in the impacted areas. The LDR national office has also provided an initial grant to LSS-MN to help them begin their work. As they continue this work LDR will be there to help as needs arise.

This is a good example of how Lutheran Disaster Response and its affiliates are willing to assist even in the “small” disasters, and how the generosity of our donors, especially those who give to the undesignated disaster account, makes a significant impact in helping people to recover.

Please continue to remember the people in this part of Minnesota in your thoughts and prayers as they go through the recovery process.