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Lutheran Disaster Response

Situation Report: Haiti Earthquake


Be a part of the response:

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

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 (Haiti Crisis) will be used in full (100%) to assist survivors in Haiti until the response is complete.

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

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  • Download the situation report and share as a PDF.

Japan: JELC Presidents Shares Thanks for the Prayers and Support

In a news release from the ELCA, the president of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC), Rev. Sumiyuki Watanabe, shared thanks for the ELCA, Lutherans worldwide, their prayers and support in this time of need in Japan. Speaking from the Lutheran World Federation-sponsored meeting he was attending in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, he stated, “Those in attendance at this meeting have remembered us in their prayers, and I feel great joy for the Lutheran family. Please continue to remember and pray for us.”

As reports have come in over the weekend it has been learned through the Rev. Hiroaki Fujii, pastor of Sendai Lutheran Church, that his family and all of the children of the congregation’s preschool program are safe, though some of the teachers have not been heard from. Sendai, a city of more than 1 million people was near the epicenter of the earthquake and was one of the hardest hit regions by the tsunami. Contact in the region has been spotty as cell phones continue not to work and gasoline has been scare. The greatest need expressed was for food and water.

To learn more read the full ELCA News Release.

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

The Ripple Effect of Japan’s Earthquake

Our thoughts and prayers remain with Japan’s communities impacted by today’s earthquake, one of the largest in history.  As we continue to monitor the situation, the ELCA has been in contact with companions throughout the region threatened by the earthquake’s ripple effect sending tsunami waves throughout the Pacific region.

Reports from ELCA Global Mission personnel located in Latin America state that precautionary measures were taken to evacuate most coastal communities.  Anxiety in the region decreased after initial reports from Hawaii indicated the impact would be less than originally anticipated.

Chile continues to wait for the last tail end of the tsunami to come to shore sometime late tonight.  According to ELCA companion EPES in Chile, since early this morning families were informed about the situation in Japan.  In coastal areas, schools were suspended so that families could take precautionary measures.  In Penco, families of two camps that EPES continues to work with after the devastating 2010 earthquake have moved to elevated areas or are awaiting further instruction from government authorities.  Local news services report some 80,000 to 130,000 Chileans are part of the country’s evacuation measures.

The video below from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) illustrates the earthquake’s ripple effect through the Pacific region.

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

Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami Ravage Country, ELCA Missionaries Okay

Just before 2:45pm local time in Japan (early morning in the US) one of the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan, with a magnitude of 8.9, struck around the town of Sendai causing massive damage and creating a tsunami with waves up to 30 feet. As of this morning the situation is being assessed by ELCA with its companion on the ground, the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC). In looking at the situation Pastor Eric Anspach-Hansen of Tokyo Lutheran stated, “Hopefully our church [the ELCA] will be able to get involved in the relief work in the coming months.” Through its predecessor bodies the ELCA has had a relationship extending back to 1892 with the local Lutheran community in Japan. As more is learned about the impact of this disaster, we will continue to build on this long-standing relationship.

As of date it has been learned that the 22 ELCA Missionaries (and 3 dependents), sent by ELCA Global Mission, working in the area are all safe and accounted for. We are still awaiting reports on how the local JELC churches have been affected, particularly in and around the area of Sendai. As the news was reported at a Lutheran World Federation leadership conference in Malaysia, attended by leadership of the JELC and ELCA, a representative from the Australian Evangelical Lutheran Church, which has recently been dealing with massive flooding and an earthquake in New Zealand, stated that of all the outpouring of help from the international community “prayer was the most important gift.” This sentiment was echoed by ELCA Missionary in Japan, Ally Streed, “Please keep the people of Japan (and just Japan in general) in your thoughts and prayers. This is the biggest earthquake they’ve seen since the Kobe earthquake of 1995.”

As we await more information and determine how best to respond please share the gift of prayer, for those who have lost their lives, those that deal with the devastation left behind and those who come to their aid. May God grant strength and peace where they can be found.

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

Earthquake in Pakistan

A 7.2 earthquake has hit a remote area of southwestern Pakistan. Today’s quake was centered in Baluchistan, Pakistan’s most sparsely populated area, according to the US Geological Service. The quake’s epicenter was centered in a remote area about 200 miles, or 320 kilometers, southwest of the Baluchistan capital of Quetta, the Associated Press reported. The quake was felt in several neighboring provinces and in major cities, including Karachi.  Police from Karachi report no damage or loss of life as of now.

The ELCA’s partner, CWS in Pakistan, has a long record of responding after earthquakes, including the 7.5-magnitude quake that hit Pakistan in 2005.  CWS will conduct assessments and prepare a response if needed.

Remembering Haiti: One Year After

One year after the earthquake people join together in religious meetings across the country. Photo: ACT/Paul Jeffrey

This morning I woke and took fifteen minutes to think about the last year, its successes and challenges, moments to remember both good and bad, and the hopefulness found through it all.  I think it is important that we all see ourselves as participants in this effort.  Through the sharing of our gifted resources, taking moments in silence to pray in solidarity with those who continue to struggle in Haiti, sharing information and stories to one another to continue to build awareness on the issues facing Haiti, contributing your skills and expertise through volunteerism; all these contributions manifests a community participating in the renewal of hope and livelihoods in Haiti.

I can not put into words the overwhelming feeling of frustration and pain felt when conditions don’t seem to improve.  While relief efforts were quick to respond to emergency needs, recovery efforts have been slow to start; housing is still a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands of families that are still displaced and living in camps. Yet, Haitian colleagues, who have themselves suffered loss, are dedicated to the work they do for their fellow citizens and continue to persevere with rebuilding efforts.

I see hopefulness in changes seen.  Children have returned to school, signaling the strengthening of Haiti’s next generation of leadership and workers.  People are back to work, earning a wage to provide for their families and beginning the work of rebuilding their own lives.

So, on this anniversary day, I want to extend gratitude for all the gifts that have been shared and challenge you to continue to find ways to contribute to the rebuilding of Haiti.  Years of work remains ahead of us as Haiti continues to recover from the earthquake and addresses conditions of poverty.

I also invite each of you to hold a minute of silence to honor the victims of the 2010 earthquake at 4:34 pm (Haitian time), exactly one year from when the earthquake struck.

God’s Peace,