In the midst of a strong local response by individuals and congregations, Lutheran Disaster Response is working with Upbring (Lutheran Social Services of the South) and two of the Texas Synods across the impacted areas in the state, anticipating long-term work in the Dickinson and Rockport areas. The groundwork is being laid for the extended long-term recovery work of disaster case management, emotional and spiritual care, volunteer coordination and construction management. Also, in partnership with the Gulf Coast Synod, planning has begun for a respite retreat for rostered leaders in the Houston area.
Hurricane Irma and Maria
Lutheran Disaster Response is working with the Florida-Bahamas Synod, the Caribbean Synod, and other International companions and partners to provide relief to the most vulnerable in the U.S. and around the world.
In addition to local efforts at clean up and providing temporary shelter through the synod and local congregations, the work of Lutheran Disaster Responses has focused on crisis counseling to thousands in 20 Florida counties. This work is being done through our affiliate, Lutheran Services of Florida. Early support was extended to care providers so that they can be assured their families are in a stable living situation, and are able to turn their attention to the care of the most vulnerable in the community.
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
In Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Synod hosted a lunch in Toa Baja, one of the most impacted communities, serving nearly 500 people. Also, leaders within the synod continue to build capacity, in partnership with Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands (LSSVI), and work on a longer-term response.
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, LSSVI continues to work with staff, residents and other participants of their programs to provide relief and continued care in the aftermath of the storms. They are actively present, collaborating with local community leaders and officials to plan responses, particularly the long-term recovery efforts.
Because of the uniqueness of the situation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, delegations from the ELCA continue to travel to PR and USVI to determine the best steps moving forward.
Through local partners, we are supporting woman-headed households affected by the hurricane through cash assistance, home repair items, food, and other basic necessities. We are also assisting farmers who were affected by replacing lost and/or damaged tools and seeds to restore farms.
Through the Cuban Council of Churches, we are supporting 350 families with the distribution of items like cookware, dishes, and blankets to help them get back to normal life.
Tropical Storm Nate
Through our companions and other partners, we are planning to respond by providing food, access to clean water and other services. We will focus our efforts on indigenous communities along the central and southern parts of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.