Written by Connie Larkman
As devastating floodwaters continue to rise in Southeastern Louisiana, and rescues continue after torrential rain, United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is calling for prayer for the people affected, and monetary donations to help the survivors facing long-term recovery assistance.
"Monetary donations provide the most effective, efficient and versatile form of support for disaster survivors," said Zach Wolgemuth, executive for UCC Disaster Ministries.
This historic disaster, with 30 inches of rain in three days, has left 11 people dead, damaged more than 40,000 homes, sent more than 8,000 people to find shelter, with rescues up over 30,000.
President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, and the American Red Cross said more than 1,000 of its disaster volunteers have been mobilized from across the U.S. to help with relief efforts.
"Sadly this event is just one in a string of major disasters over the past 12 months including but not limited to historic flooding in South Carolina, West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma and now again in Louisiana," said Wolgemuth. He is directing people who want to help to the Emergency USA fund.
"UCC Disaster Ministries is well connected with the nation's most trusted and reputable disaster response and recovery organizations," Wolgemuth said. "We collaborate closely with organizations throughout the disaster response and recovery continuum but our focus is on long-term recovery namely because, during this phase, the needs often exceed resources. I would encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering to strongly consider supporting our ongoing efforts to help communities recover." A list of locations where volunteers are needed can be found here.
The Rev. Mona Lopez, disaster assistance coordinator for the UCC South Central Conference said that she hasn't heard of any UCC churches in distress, but is still working on communication with folks in the area.
"We continue to monitor the situation," Wolgemuth said, "and will do our best to update information on the Disaster Ministries website and the OGHS Facebook page."