ELCA Lutheran Disaster Responsehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/Lutheran Disaster Response at the 2015 ELCA Youth GatheringMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/307http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/307<div class="ExternalClassF69F742E5F05487D96C8A9F64C6FBF3F"><p>​During July 14 – 19, the Lutheran Disaster Response team and several dedicated volunteers were in Detroit for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering. Lutheran Disaster Response had the great opportunity to have an activity space in the Interactive Center as part of the Proclaim Community Youth Gathering event.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Lutheran Disaster Response’s activity space was titled “Hope for the Refugee,” and the interactive activity gave participants a chance to have a simulation experience of the journey that refugees face. Participants were grouped into “family” units and assigned family roles that they portrayed throughout the activity. Stations included discussing and determining what materials families might need with them to make the journey to a refugee camp, learning about challenges encountered along the journey and how to adapt, and learning about the hope found at refugee camps and what Lutheran Disaster Response does to support refugees around the world. <span>&#160;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/LDR%20booth.jpg" alt="LDR booth.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;263px;" /></p><p class="MsoNormal"><em style="font-size&#58;12px;">The entrance to the &quot;Hope for the Refugee&quot; activity space at the 2015&#160; ELCA Youth Gathering</em><br></p><p class="MsoNormal">Approximately 1,200 youth participants and adult leaders visited the “Hope for the Refugee” activity space and learned more about the work of Lutheran Disaster Response.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Lutheran Disaster Response also worked with Campus Ministries and Habitat for Humanity at the Youth Gathering <span>&#160;</span>to build house frames for Habitat for Humanity homes in Detroit.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/LDR%20build.jpg" alt="LDR build.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;397px;" /></p><p class="MsoNormal"><em style="font-size&#58;12px;">A message written by a 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering Participant on a house frame built for a Habitat for Humanity home in Detroit.</em><br></p><p class="MsoNormal">More photos of participants at the “Hope for the Refugee” activity space and of the dedication of the house frames can be found on the <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/LutheranDisasterResponse/photos_stream?tab=photos_stream">Lutheran Disaster Response Facebook page</a>.</p><p class="MsoNormal">We were blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering and to meet and interact with so many wonderful youth from around the country!</p></div>07/31/2015South Dakota: Tornado recovery in DelmontMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/306http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/306<div class="ExternalClass6ED70686057040CBA1EF8C3CC751A377"><p>​A tornado tore through Delmont, S.D, around 10&#58;45 a.m. on May 10. Delmont is a rural town in south central South Dakota with 140 housing units. Of those 140 homes, 48 were destroyed or severely damaged and 12 received significant damage. These numbers represent 43 percent of the housing units in Delmont. </p><p>In addition to the damage to homes, Delmont's fire station and water tower were destroyed, which caused the stored water to flood neighboring homes. The town's electrical substation was damaged, which cut off power to the town, and damaged home propane tanks caused a public safety hazard that led emergency officials to evacuate the town of approximately 300 people for several days. </p><p>After the tornado hit, our affiliate, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota (LSSSD), was on the scene organizing volunteers, addressing immediate household needs, providing crisis counseling and case management, and assisting in planning for long-term recovery efforts.</p><p>In coordination with Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, Lutheran Disaster Response has provided an initial $50,000 to assist with case management and construction management in Delmont.</p><p><img alt="Delmont tornado -LSSSD.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Delmont%20tornado%20-LSSSD.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;263px;" /></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12px;"><em>A home in Delmont, S.D., that was damaged by a tornado that hit the community on May 10. Credit&#58; LSSSD</em></span><br></p><p><strong>Case Management</strong></p><p>A case manager will assist people whose homes and/or livelihoods were affected by the tornado. The case manager will assist individuals in filing claims and applying for available financial assistance, in addition to providing emotional support and counseling referrals to people who are dealing with trauma and loss due to the disaster. </p><p><strong>Construction Management</strong></p><p>Construction managers will be contracted to evaluate homes that were affected to determine which units are suitable for volunteer rebuilding work. The construction managers will supervise volunteer construction crews, manage cleanup, and assist case managers in evaluating unmet needs.</p><p>As the community of Delmont begins its rebuilding phase, Lutheran Disaster Response will be there to work with the people who were affected through every step of the recovery process. &#160;Please hold the community of Delmont in your prayers. If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response's work in Delmont, please visit the <a href="http&#58;//beta.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Ways-to-Give">Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>. </p></div>06/29/2015Nepal Earthquake: Elim Kids Academy resumes classesMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/305http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/305<div class="ExternalClass84222B4D06044321924BDCC1AD277499"><p>​Elim Kids Academy, a small Christian primary and secondary school in Kathmandu, was severely damaged in the April 25 and May 12 earthquakes that hit Nepal. Compound walls around the school collapsed and parts of the school need to be demolished and rebuilt. Despite the damage and the rebuilding necessary, classes have resumed now, a month after the earthquakes hit.</p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Wall%20of%20the%20senior%20building%20collapsed%20at%20Elim%20Kids%20Academy.jpg" alt="Wall of the senior building collapsed at Elim Kids Academy.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;261px;" /></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12px;"><em>Wall of senior building at Elim Kids Academy that collapsed due to the earthquakes. Credit&#58; Elim Kids Academy</em></span><br></p><p>Rita Kabo, the principal of Elim Kids Academy, recently shared in a newsletter the experience of resuming classes and the future plans at Elim Kids Academy. Her reflection is below.</p><p><em>&quot;As parents brought in their children to the school, there were fears and uncertainties in their faces and they reluctantly left their children. Teachers have been prepared to receive students, as they were given some post-earthquake trauma counseling and psychosocial counseling last week. Most of the students were happy to be back in school and meet with their friends and see their teachers. </em></p><p><em>We have an enormous responsibility to take care of these precious lives that the parents and guardians have entrusted to us. We need to rebuild the broken walls…and we have to purchase some indoor games and crafts for the students as we need to work to release them of their fears and use creative ways to bring them back to their normal self and routine. There is so much to be done and we cannot do it alone. Your prayers and contributions in all these will help us to cope with the challenges we have in hand and slowly and steadily work toward rebuilding the confidence of the children.&quot;</em></p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Earthquake%20evacuation%20drill%20at%20Elim%20Kids%20Academy.jpg" alt="Earthquake evacuation drill at Elim Kids Academy.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;261px;" /></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12px;"><em>As part of the school re-opening, an earthquake evacuation drill was held at Elim Kids Academy. Credit&#58; Elim Kids Academy</em></span><br><em></em></p><p>As Lutheran Disaster Response continues to work with those who were affected by the Nepal earthquakes, please continue to hold these people in your prayers. As we move from the relief stage to the recovery stage, emotional and physical rebuilding is taking place. Your prayers make a difference. Your gifts make a difference. Please continue to support Lutheran Disaster Response's work in Nepal by visiting the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/donations/nepalearthquake">Nepal Area Earthquake giving page</a>. </p><p><em style="font-size&#58;12px;">Elim Kids Academy is in part supported by an ELCA World Hunger grant that provides for teacher training opportunities and scholarships for students, many of whom come from Dalit backgrounds. </em></p><p>Follow Lutheran Disaster Response on <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/LutheranDisasterResponse">Facebook</a> and <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaldr">Twitter</a>.<br><em style="font-size&#58;12px;"></em></p></div>06/12/2015Nepal Earthquake: Distributions continue as monsoon season beginsMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/304http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/304<div class="ExternalClassA80B2460310C4CFE97B055C3E8627976"><p>​Six weeks after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that affected more than 8 million people hit Nepal, relief efforts are moving forward as fast as possible. The beginning of June marked the beginning of the monsoon season in Nepal, and the people affected by the earthquake who are short on food or without shelter are now more vulnerable to the potential landslides and torrential rains. Immediate needs are shelter, food, blankets, hygiene kits and psychosocial support. We are working with our partners to make sure these most pressing needs are being met.</p><p></p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Building%20a%20temporary%20shelter%20in%20Byasi%20Tole.%20Credit%20-%20ACT.jpg" alt="Building a temporary shelter in Byasi Tole. Credit - ACT.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;233px;" /></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;12px;"><em>Temporary shelters are being constructed before the rains begin. Credit&#58; ACT Alliance</em></span><br><strong></strong></p><p><strong>Response to Date&#58;</strong></p><p><strong>Lutheran World Federation (LWF)&#58;</strong></p><p>In coordination with The Lutheran World Federation and ACT Alliance, we have distributed ready-to-eat food, hygiene kits, blankets and tarps to 13,718 households in 27 towns and villages. </p><p><strong>Lutheran World Relief (LWR)&#58;</strong></p><p>Working with Lutheran World Relief and ACT Alliance, we have assisted more than 20,000 people affected by the earthquake by distributing food and shelter materials to 4,850 households. Food supplies consist of rice, sugar, lentils, oil and salt, and the packets provide enough food to feed a family of five for 15 days. </p><p>Psychosocial support has also been provided to 1,173 people across four districts. </p><p><strong>United Mission to Nepal (UMN)&#58;</strong></p><p>United Mission to Nepal has nearly achieved 100 percent of its targeted distributions in 7 Village Development Committees in Dhading district. Distributions have consisted of emergency food, kitchen utensils, tarps and blankets.</p><p>United Mission to Nepal's Health Team has also completed community-based health trainings on acute malnutrition with health workers in three Village Development Committees in Dhading. </p><p>In response to the monsoon season, UMN is exploring possibilities to help plant seeds for rice and vegetables before the rains start.</p><p>Nepal's mountainous terrain remains an obstacle that is slowing down distribution efforts. Helicopters are being used to transport supplies to villages that have been cut-off from road access due to damage or landslides, and even elite climbers are going out to deliver supplies to areas that are only accessible by foot. </p><p>Currently, Lutheran Disaster Response is working with our three trusted partners in the area to assist with immediate needs. We know that this response will last much longer than this initial relief process, and we will continue to stay in Nepal to assist with the long-term rebuilding and rehabilitation needs. </p><p>Please continue to hold the people who were affected by the earthquake in your prayers, and continue to support Lutheran Disaster Response's work in Nepal by visiting the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/donations/nepalearthquake?_ga=1.230998431.1404219041.1427831746">Nepal Area Earthquake giving page</a>. </p><p><br></p></div>06/08/2015Responding to the severe flooding in the southern plainsMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/303http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/303<div class="ExternalClassF639ABD37E7C47C1A53F346642B53C80"><p>​Texas, Oklahoma and now Arkansas are experiencing severe flooding that started due to heavy rainfall and flash floods in the region during Memorial Day weekend. This has been the wettest May, or even month, on record for most of the region. In Texas, it is estimated that 35 trillion gallons of rain have fallen during the past month. Some cities in Texas have received at least four inches of rain for the past 25 consecutive days. At least 27 people have died due to the flooding in the U.S., and several more people are still missing. Normally dry riverbeds are flooded, leaving 4,000 houses damaged or destroyed and many streets and interstates submerged. </p><p class="MsoNormal">And the rain is still falling.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/RuetersHoustonFlooding15.jpg" alt="RuetersHoustonFlooding15.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;263px;" /></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size&#58;12px;"><em>Flooding in Houston, Texas. Credit&#58; Reuters</em></span><br></p><p class="MsoNormal">Lutheran Disaster Response has been in contact with our disaster affiliates on the ground in the region, as well as with synods and congregations. We are keeping up-to-date on the situation and are assessing the immediate and long-term needs of those in the flooded areas. We will act in coordination with our network of social ministry organizations and synods to respond to these needs, and we will walk with those who have been affected through every phase of the disaster recovery process. We will stay long after the water recedes to assist in the rebuilding and recovery long-term response needs. </p><p class="MsoNormal">Please support Lutheran Disaster Response’s work in responding to the flooding in the southern plains by visiting the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/donations/us-spring-storms-donate">U.S. Spring Storms giving page</a>. <span>&#160;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><em>Please follow Lutheran Disaster Response on <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/LutheranDisasterResponse">Facebook</a> and <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaldr">Twitter</a>.</em><br></p></div>05/29/2015Ebola Outbreak: Liberia declared “Ebola-free”Megan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/302http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/302<div class="ExternalClassAA7DF36947934658AFE43E3A5AE0CD96"><p>​On March 30, 2014, Liberia confirmed its first two cases in the recent Ebola epidemic. A little more than a year later, Liberia was officially declared Ebola-free on May 9, 2015, after 42 days of zero reported Ebola cases.&#160; </p><p class="MsoNormal">Day 42 is the magic number because it is double the timeframe of the virus’ incubation period of 21 days, which is the official criterion needed to declare that the human-to-human transmission of the virus is over. This is an enormous achievement for Liberia – a country that was reporting 300-400 new Ebola cases every week during the peak of the epidemic.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The Rev. Andrea Walker, Global Mission area program director for Madagascar, West/Central Africa was in Liberia when the epidemic officially ended. </p><p class="MsoNormal">“The most incredible thing to me as I visited Liberia during the week they were declared Ebola-free is the hard work of the people of Liberia,” says Walker. “Everywhere they showed extreme vigilance. The directive to wash your hands and to have your temperature taken were measures that I am sure helped to curtail this disease. It was good to be with the people of the Lutheran Church in Liberia once again. I felt the absence of the usual hugs and handshakes, but I realize that this change of cultural practice had been necessary for survival.”</p><p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Ebola%20poster%20from%20Liberia.png" alt="Ebola poster from Liberia.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;541px;" /></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size&#58;12px;"><em>A poster from Liberia on Ebola prevention tips that was used to help curtail the outbreak.</em></span><br></p><p class="MsoNormal">While they could have felt defeated as the Ebola virus continued to spread throughout their country, Liberians did not give up – they fought against the disease with everything they had. </p><p class="MsoNormal">“Liberians were hard at work during the Ebola crisis, trying to save their way of life,” says the Rev. Themba Mkhabela, Global Mission regional representative for Madagascar, West/Central Africa. “Liberia would not be free of Ebola today if Liberians did not fight to save their country. The efforts of the international community also helped win the fight against Ebola, but the efforts of the international community would not have succeeded without the role played by volunteers, ordinary Liberians and the people of faith.”</p><p class="MsoNormal">One of those people of faith was Bishop D. Jensen Seyenkulo of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, who stayed in Liberia throughout the outbreak to provide support and serve as a trusted voice. Many Liberians were initially cautious of the government’s warnings about Ebola. Bishop Seyenkulo made many trips around the country in the midst of the epidemic to make sure people understood the seriousness of the situation and the care that was needed.</p><p class="MsoNormal">“I am reminded of an incident in one of the most devastated villages in the country where people refused to accept the county medical team or government officials,” says Bishop Seyenkulo. “The only person they were ready to listen to was their bishop. At the invitation of county officials, I dropped everything and drove there to reassure community members. At that point, the community opened itself to the medical help it needed.” </p><p class="MsoNormal">Thanks to the gifts given by people like you, Lutheran Disaster Response was able to assist in the fight against Ebola in Liberia when the outbreak was just beginning. We worked with our companion, Lutheran Church in Liberia, and partners, ACT Alliance and Global Health Ministries. Lutheran Disaster Response provided medical and disinfectant supplies, distributed food to people who were quarantined and helped ensure World Health Organization standards were met in the construction of an isolation center at Phebe Hospital. We also helped cover air-freight costs for shipments of personal protective equipment to Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. Your generosity allowed Lutheran Disaster Response to be the church and accompany our brothers and sisters in Liberia during this difficult time.</p><p class="MsoNormal">While we give thanks for Liberia being declared Ebola-free and celebrate with the people whose vigilance made it possible, we continue to pray for the people of Sierra Leone and Guinea who are still fighting against the Ebola outbreak. And even though Liberia is now Ebola-free, the work necessary to rebuild communities and health systems is just beginning. We will continue to walk with the people of Liberia as they begin the post-Ebola phase of recovery. </p><p class="MsoNormal">Please continue to support Lutheran Disaster Response’s work in the fight against Ebola by visiting the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/ebolaoutbreakresponse?_ga=1.38168739.1404219041.1427831746">Ebola Outbreak Response giving page</a>. </p><p class="MsoNormal">Follow Lutheran Disaster Response on <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/LutheranDisasterResponse">Facebook</a> and <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaldr">Twitter</a>. <br></p></div>05/22/2015