ELCA Lutheran Disaster Responsehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/6.0 earthquake strikes near Napa, Calif.Megan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/269http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/269<div class="ExternalClass754F1A53905D47128D7FCED66503058C"><p>​Early Sunday morning, Aug. 24, an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale hit the San Francisco Bay Area. The earthquake, which was the largest seismic event in the area since a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in 1989, injured 120 people, triggered fires and power outages, and left significant damage to properties. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Napa Valley Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Napa, Calif., has reported some structural damage that it received as a result of the earthquake. Building inspectors and insurance agents will be visiting the church in the next few days to evaluate the extent of the damage. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Lutheran Social Services of Northern California, our Lutheran Disaster Response local affiliate, is assessing the situation and gathering reports of damages that were sustained in the area as a result of the earthquake. We will continue to review the situation and be in contact with Lutheran Social Services of Northern California and our local congregations and synod to see how we may be able to provide assistance.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">“The thoughts and prayers of the Lutheran Disaster Response network are with those injured and affected by the earthquake,” says the Rev. Michael Stadie, program director for Lutheran Disaster Response. “We are monitoring the situation and standing by to provide help to the impacted communities as they begin the process of recovery. </p> </div>08/25/2014Long-term recovery following early summer storms in South DakotaMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/268http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/268<div class="ExternalClass95A0C41978EA4EDEB63F9870A32C41CA"><p>​In June, eastern South Dakota experienced severe weather ranging from record downpours to a tornado. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>Heavy rains lead to flooding</strong></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">During the night of June 16, Lincoln County received 8.5 inches of rain, which means it received a full month’s worth of rain in one evening. This significant rainfall, paired with continued rain storms throughout the region during the following two weeks, caused riverbanks to overflow, lower levels of homes to flood, sewers to backup and more than 12 farms to be flooded. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">In the town of Canton, in Lincoln County, highways and roads leading into the town were completely flooded, which made it difficult for rescue and emergency-response vehicles to provide service to the approximately 1,300 households that were impacted by the flooding.<span>&#160; </span></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">In addition to the homes and businesses in Canton that experienced negative effects from the flooding, the oldest Norwegian Lutheran church in the state, Canton Lutheran (an ELCA congregation), was severely damaged in the flood.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>Tornado destroys, damages homes</strong></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">On June 18, an EF-2 tornado went through Wessington Springs, a town in Jerauld County, destroying dozens of homes and businesses. Wessington Springs has 1,000 residents that comprise 485 households. Of those 485 homes, 43 were damaged, 12 were totally destroyed and another 12 were left uninhabitable. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Tornado%20in%20Wessington%20Springs%20SD.jpg" alt="Tornado in Wessington Springs SD.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;354px;height&#58;267px;" /></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><em>(Pictured&#58; A view of Wessington Springs after the tornado.)</em><br></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Lutheran Disaster Response has committed an initial $100,000 to Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota to assist in long-term recovery efforts that are following these June storms. Long-term recovery efforts will include disaster case management to work with people who were impacted by the disasters to connect them with necessary resources so they can return to their “new normal.” Recovery projects will also include construction management in Canton and Wessington Springs to assist in the repair and rebuilding of homes. <span>&#160;</span></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">We will work hand-in-hand with the people of eastern South Dakota as they recover and rebuild after being impacted by severe weather. Thanks to your generosity in undesignated gifts, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to provide help when and where it is most needed.</p> <span style="font-size&#58;11pt;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response’s work in providing hope and healing to those who have been impacted by disaster, please visit the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/lutherandisasterresponse">Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>. </span></div>08/22/2014Unaccompanied and Migrant Children: Myths vs. FactsMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/267http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/267<div class="ExternalClassAEA6AF4D58E740EFACEAB7FCF242CB4E"> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Since October 2013, approximately 60,000 children from Central America have crossed borders to arrive in the United States. This mass migration of children has garnered international media attention, and with it, a lot of contradictory information. So what is actually happening with this crisis at the border? Recently, a group from the ELCA traveled to the U.S. Texas/Mexico border to learn about the situation first-hand. The trip included visits with U.S. Border Patrol, social workers, pastors, an attorney, and the refugee children themselves. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/cropped%20Martinez.jpg" alt="cropped Martinez.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">(Pictured&#58; Danny Martinez, an agent for U.S. Border Patrol, gives a presentation about the U.S. Border Patrol's work.)<br></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Listed below are just five myths and their corresponding facts that tell what is really happening at the border. For further detail, and for more myths and facts, please read the <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Unaccompanied_Migrant_Children_Myths_Facts.pdf">Unaccompanied and Migrant Children –Myths vs. Facts resource.</a></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><br> </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">MYTH&#58; Border crossings are on the rise.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">FACT&#58; Border crossings are actually down from where they were in the 1990s, when more than 1.5 million people would come to the U.S. every year. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">U.S. border apprehensions overview&#58;</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">2000&#58; 1,675,438 people</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">2008&#58; 723,825</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">2013&#58; 420,789</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">&#160;</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">MYTH&#58; These kids are here illegally.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">FACT&#58; Most of these kids are seeking out and surrendering themselves to U.S. Border Patrol; they are not running. When a child comes into contact with U.S. Border Patrol, Border Patrol has 72 hours to process him or her. If possible, the child is repatriated. If not, the child is processed and given a “Notice to Appear” (NTA), which references his or her court date. Because of this processing, the child is neither here undocumented nor illegally. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">The ELCA and other humanitarian organizations are caring for children who are awaiting review of appeals for asylum or protection and for those who have been released from detention to join family or sponsors. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">&#160;</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">MYTH&#58; These kids are carrying drugs and are just here to cause trouble. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">FACT&#58; Drug-related violence and exploitation is a primary reason these children flee. Drugs are being run by drug cartels, not by children from Central America who are seeking asylum. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Most of these children are seeking out and surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol in order to receive protection from exploitation and other risks. When asked why they left their homes, children say they were hungry or their parents sent them to try to protect them from being recruited into the gang violence and trafficking in their communities. They are not troublemakers; they are trying to avoid trouble. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">&#160;</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">MYTH&#58; These kids have diseases that they will spread to us and our kids in school.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">FACT&#58; Lutheran Social Services of the South has cared for approximately 6,000 unaccompanied children in the past year, and they report fewer than a dozen children who have needed more than routine medical care. The primary health issues these children are receiving care for include dehydration, the common cold and dental needs. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">&#160;</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">MYTH&#58; Taxpayers are paying for these kids to reunite with their families.</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">FACT&#58; When unaccompanied children are released from detention facilities while their cases are reviewed and resolved, they are released to a family member or a sponsor. They are not released until their transportation is paid for either by themselves or their family or sponsor. Often, family members send money and a bus voucher is given to be redeemed for a ticket at the bus station. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing"><br></p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response's work with Unaccompanied and Migrant Children, please visit the<a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/unaccompaniedmigrantchildren"> Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>.<br></p> <p>​</p></div>08/12/2014Ebola outbreak: Shipment of personal protective equipment set to arrive in LiberiaMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/266http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/266<div class="ExternalClass64B7AB0CF48E494B86F5CBACF51C132D"><p>​The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic a “worldwide health emergency.” The virus, which started in Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, has now spread to Nigeria. It is being reported that more than 1,770 people have been infected with the Ebola virus, with approximately 961 having died as a result. </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">Lutheran Disaster Response, in partnership with Global Health Ministries and the Lutheran Church in Liberia, assisted in the <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/264">shipment of personal protective equipment</a> to Phebe Hospital and Curran Lutheran Hospital in Liberia. The personal protective equipment, which consists of hazmat suits with hoods and boots and disinfectant, is scheduled to arrive at Roberts International Airport in Liberia on Saturday, Aug. 9. </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;"><img alt="Ebola PPE.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Ebola%20PPE.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;344px;height&#58;263px;" /></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">(Pictured&#58; Shipment of personal protective equipment being sent to Phebe Hospital and Curran Lutheran Hospital in Liberia.)<br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">We continue to gather information from our partners and our global companion churches in West Africa as we earnestly pray for healing and relief from this deadly virus. We will walk with our brothers and sisters who are facing the risks of the Ebola virus as we add our efforts to the international community that is working to contain the virus.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">&#160;</p> <span style="font-size&#58;11pt;line-height&#58;115%;font-family&#58;&quot;calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response’s work in providing assistance against the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/ebolaoutbreakresponse">please visit the Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>. </span></div>08/08/2014Gaza Strip: Providing assistance to Augusta Victoria HospitalMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/265http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/265<div class="ExternalClass2F49E90178924DEB99C4C898DFE692A6"><p>​<img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Gaza%20-%20AVH%20Medical%20Team.jpg" alt="Gaza - AVH Medical Team.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;349px;height&#58;235px;" /></p><p>(Pictured&#58; A medical team from Augusta Victoria Hospital prepares to provide medical assistance in Gaza. LWF/Mark Brown)<br></p><p>Violence in the Holy Land erupted at the beginning of July, and now more than 1,800 people have been killed and more than 10,000 people have been injured as the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip continues. Most of the deceased and injured are reported to be civilians and children. </p><p>Because of the lack of security, the ability to provide proper health care in Gaza is waning thin. </p><p>Working with the Lutheran World Federation, Lutheran Disaster Response has committed an initial $100,000 to Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), a Lutheran hospital in Jerusalem, to send AVH medical teams and supplies into Gaza. Augusta Victoria is a hospital that provides medical services regardless of race, gender, religious or political affiliation. </p><p>Medical professionals from Augusta Victoria are providing specialty care, medications and supplies to triage and treat patients in Gaza. Augusta Victoria is also providing care for patients with cancer and chronic illnesses who are being moved from Gaza to AVH to avoid deterioration of their health during the conflict and to relieve beds in Gaza for injured patients. In addition to physical care, Augusta Victoria medical professionals are providing psychosocial support to patients who have been evacuated from Gaza.</p><p>The Rev. Dr. Munib A. Younan, the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land has visited with patients who have been injured as a result of the conflict. In a July 16 public statement, Younan called for critical support for healthcare infrastructure and asked that &quot;all people of good will intervene in the present situation of unacceptable violence and bloodshed.&quot;</p><p>We continue to monitor the situation in Gaza closely and walk with our brothers and sisters who are being impacted by this conflict. We pray for peace in the Holy Land and for God to grant comfort and healing to those who have been injured. </p><p>If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response's work in the Holy Land, <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/Gaza">please visit the Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>. Your gifts designated for Gaza Humanitarian Assistance will be used in full (100 percent) to assist those directly impacted by this crisis. Bishop Younan asked us &quot;to create hope in a hopeless situation,&quot; and your gifts allow us to continue to respond. </p><p><em>Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, &quot;Peace be with you.&quot; </em>John 20&#58;26<br></p></div>08/07/2014Liberia: Providing healthcare workers with protective equipment against EbolaMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/264http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/264<div class="ExternalClass517C40EFEA5A4DADA6B8414EA5A2BCF3"><p>​In February 2014, a person with the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was registered in Guinea. By the end of April, the outbreak had spread to more than 250 people in Guinea and had crossed into Liberia and Sierra Leone. As of July 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there have been 1,201 cases of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, including 672 deaths, making this the most severe Ebola outbreak in recorded history.</p><p>Phebe Hospital, a Lutheran hospital in Liberia, has been dealing with the Ebola outbreak first-hand. Seven of the health care workers at Phebe Hospital have tested positive for the Ebola virus, including three nurses who died from the virus on July 23. </p><p>Working with Global Health Ministries (GHM) and the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL), Lutheran Disaster Response is sending five pallets of Personal Protection Equipment via airfreight shipment to Phebe Hospital and Curran Hospital (also Lutheran affiliation) in Liberia to assist in the response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in that country. The Personal Protection Equipment being sent consists of hazmat suits with hoods and boots and several cases of disinfectant with spray bottles. These materials will allow healthcare workers to safely provide care for patients who are infected with the virus. </p><p>Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Liberia and the rest of the West Africa region who are dealing with the risks of the Ebola virus. May Christ's healing hands grant them relief and protection. If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response's work in providing assistance against the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, please visit the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/lutherandisasterresponse">Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>.</p><p><strong>What is Ebola virus disease?</strong></p><p>Ebola virus disease (EVD) was formerly called Ebola hemorrhagic fever. It is a severe illness in humans that is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids and indirect contact with contaminated materials, such as bed linens that have been contaminated by an infected person's bodily fluids. There is no evidence that EVD can be spread through airborne transmission. </p><p>Initial symptoms of EVD include fever, weakness and muscle aches. Progressed symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding. The incubation period for the virus is up to 21 days, and an infected person is not contagious until she or he starts experiencing symptoms.</p><p>There is no vaccine for EVD, nor is there a cure. Treatment consists of supportive therapies to treat the symptoms.</p><p>Transmission can be prevented by avoiding close contact with Ebola patients and by wearing proper protective gear while caring for patients. Outbreaks typically occur in Central Africa. It is being reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) that this current outbreak is the first major outbreak in West Africa. </p></div>08/01/2014