ELCA Lutheran Disaster Responsehttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/Liberia: 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>08/01/2014Our Journey to Children at the Border - Guest Post from Rev. Stephen BoumanMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/263http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/263<div class="ExternalClass7A4E178FAD7444CDBBCDB8C089FE6420"><p><em>Below is a guest post from Rev. Stephen Bouman, Executive Director of ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission</em></p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Holy%20family.png" alt="Holy family.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;320px;height&#58;320px;" /><br></p><p>Every journey worth taking begins in the heart, then the feet begin to move down the road. I received an invitation from Mike Nevergall of Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSSS) to accompany them in their work of providing a welcome to some of the many &quot;unaccompanied minors&quot; (children of God) who are streaming across our borders in an ever-increasing flow.</p><p>For four years, the number of children migrating from Central America (mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) through Mexico to the U.S. has doubled every year. This year it is more than 57,000 and counting. </p><p>I asked my colleague, Rafael Malpica-Padilla, director of Global Mission, to join me in leading a visitation to the border. (Rafael shared the above graphic depiction of the migration of the Holy Family). This is a global\local issue demanding a broad conversation and understanding about the contexts in Central America, Mexico and the United States, and the conditions which &quot;push&quot; and &quot;pull&quot; this migration. Rafael agreed, and our delegation included staff from the global and domestic units of the ELCA, disaster response partners and staff from our Washington advocacy office. We were joined in Texas by leaders from LSSS, local pastors and leaders, and partners from Mexico.</p><p>Our visit began at Lutheran Social Services' (LSS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Transitional Foster Care program office in Corpus Christi. We had the chance to hear about the unaccompanied children who end up in transitional foster care. We toured the facility, including a classroom where children were doing their lessons for the day. LSS runs two of these facilities, serving 32 children at the Corpus Christi facility and 50 at their El Paso facility. These children in Transitional Foster Care group homes are under the age of 13.</p><p>We met a couple (names withheld for security purposes) who were the first foster parents who signed up when this new office opened in April. Since then, more than 80 children of God have been guests in this foster family's home. &#160;</p><p>&quot;The children are afraid when they come to us. But this is their promised land, given everything they have been through,&quot; they said. &quot;These children come with remarkable faith. We pray with them. Some of these children become 'little evangelists' because they are welcomed here and their faith is nurtured.&quot; </p><p>There is a sign in Spanish in front of the couple's home. In English it reads&#58; &quot;The last stop of a long journey.&quot; </p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Rocha%27s%20sign.png" alt="Rocha's sign.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;320px;height&#58;243px;" /><br></p><p>Upon entering a classroom, the issue became incarnate for me. Here were the children who had been on our hearts. </p><p>A five-year-old boy smiled at me. He is from El Salvador and crossed the border with his grandmother, from whom he was separated during intake by U.S. Border Patrol. There were two sisters from Honduras, seven and eight years old. We thought of our children and grandchildren, the ages of these children, as we moved among them speaking, listening, pondering. We are in an environment which is built to provide safety for these children. We took no pictures of the children. Pictures we do have are &quot;stock&quot; photos. Volunteers are not allowed contact. So our partners in LSS are our hands and hearts. In the faces of the foster family, and the faces of the children, we saw the face of Jesus.</p><p>We next visited the Bokenkamp Children's Shelter in Corpus Christi where we had a rare opportunity to visit one-on-one with the children who are currently staying there. Paul Hernandez, executive director of Bokenkamp, and his staff graciously showed us around the facility and answered questions about how children end up there and where they go when they leave. Children in this facility are age 13-17.</p><p>More than 100 children were sitting around tables in a large room. I went from table to table. Between my bad Spanish and the limited English of one of the staff who accompanied me, we were able to listen to the stories of many children. My questions were basic&#58; Where are you from? How long did it take you to get here? What was your journey like? How is it in this place? Where do you have family? The answers formed a very clear picture. The biggest reason they came here? &quot;Violencia.&quot; Violence. The first person I talked to, a girl of thirteen, was very clear&#58; &quot;The gang will kill me if I stay.&quot; </p><p>I heard stories of extortion, family members being killed, threats. I also heard that children come to reunite with family. When I asked about what it is like in this place, many smiled and gave the same answer. &quot;Seguridad.&quot; Safe, secure. </p><p>Stories of their journey varied. They came by bus, by train, by van driven by &quot;coyotes.&quot; Some walked many miles. For some, the transit was relatively uneventful. Others were robbed, assaulted, witnessed bad things happening to others. Staff told us that many of the girls were prepared with birth control. </p><p>Many kids come prepared with documentation and papers to help them gain residence here. When I asked where family was living, the most frequent answers were&#58; New York, Maryland, Los Angeles, Boston. </p><p>There was one moment when The Bronx met Texas and Honduras. At Transfiguration Lutheran Church in the Bronx, the congregation had an occasional liturgy in the Garifuna language. The Garifuna are Afro-Caribe people who live along the coast of Honduras and Belize. As I was conversing with a beautiful, dark skinned girl with thick, corn-row braided hair, I asked, &quot;Garifuna?&quot; She lit up in a huge smile and shrieked out, &quot;Si!&quot; Yes! She was delighted to be noticed, recognized, to show up in all her particularity.</p><p>The next day we drove to the McAllen area at the border. This is the epicenter of the lower Rio Grande valley migration destination. We visited St. John Lutheran Church in San Juan, and we met Pastor Sylvia De La Garza. Pastor Sylvia introduced us to Danny Martinez, an agent for the U.S. Border Patrol, who gave us a presentation about their work. </p><p>Danny Martinez grew up in San Juan and had been a teacher. He told us that in Tucson, 80 percent of the migrants picked up by Border Patrol are Mexicans. In the Rio Grande Valley, the number is 80 percent &quot;OTMs.&quot; (Other than Mexicans). </p><p>Because of the 2008 anti-trafficking law, Border Patrol cannot send the children back without papers, opening a case, a judgment. He said that a majority of the &quot;coyotes&quot; who expedite the actual transport are also juveniles. He said the train through Mexico between Central America and Texas is really bad. Children ride on the roof, where some are robbed, assaulted, raped, even thrown off and killed. The train derailed eight times this past year. It is known as &quot;la bestia&quot; – the beast.</p><p>We also had the privilege of meeting with Jennifer Harbury, an attorney and human rights activist who is active in the Rio Grande Valley, specifically in cases involving Central Americans. She wrote the book Truth, Torture and the American Way to describe her efforts to find out what happened to her husband Everado during the Guatamalan civil war.</p><p>Jennifer told the story of a boy she took in, making the various issues around migrating children personal and vivid. In Honduras, gangs came to recruit the boy when he was about thirteen. They beat him, but he refused to join. The second time they ran him over with a car. His mom gave him $30 and told him to run. The Honduran army beat and robbed him at the border. He rode on the roof of the train. A gang got him in northern Mexico. He was nabbed with a bunch of children in order to extort from their families. The children broke away at the first opportunity and ran in every direction. He almost drowned swimming across the river and got picked up by Border Patrol. He was abused in an ORR facility and in foster care for a month when she met him. Since then, he has beaten alcohol, has a job, and is taking care of his nieces and nephews. Jennifer talked about what drives children to hit the road. As she said, &quot;It's raining battered children in my back yard!&quot;</p><p>We then visited Calvary Baptist Church and met with Pastor Chad Mason and Kathy Herzberg on the missions staff. Chad told us about the ways that volunteers are being used, what donations are needed, and how things are being coordinated to help refugees after they are dropped off at the McAllen bus depot. Volunteers meet families at the bus station, help them buy their tickets (with vouchers paid for by their families), and take them to the relief center at Sacred Heart Catholic Parish, two blocks from the station. The center is an ecumenical ministry run by Catholic Charities where volunteers help with a variety of services. The center sees 140 people per day. The refugees receive two fresh sets of clothes, they have the opportunity to eat, shower, and relax, and their children receive play therapy through Save the Children. Sister Leticia Benavides gave us a tour of the facility. We were there as a group of mothers and children arrived. Everyone in the large, cavernous facility stopped doing what they were doing and began to applaud. &quot;Bienvenidos!&quot; Welcome! People arrive after having been detained 3 – 10 days. They are dehydrated, tired, and tears well up at the first genuine act of hospitality they receive after the long journey.</p><p>The next day we met at Our Savior Lutheran Church in McAllen. We heard from Omar Mixco about the renewed work of La Frontera Ministries International and his goal of expanding their educational and immersion opportunities. Omar is from Honduras and is currently based in Mexico City as the part time executive director of La Frontera, and he is looking to engage with a variety of partners on each side of the border. He told us that the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras is the most violent city in the world. He is working closely with Our Savior Lutheran Church, and Mary Lovig from Our Savior shared with us about the ability of groups to stay at the church for immersion experiences and mission trips.</p><p>We heard from Pastor Paul Bailie from Iglesia Luterana San Lucas in Eagle Pass, Texas, and we learned about how the situation in Eagle Pass is similar and different to what we had experienced in McAllen. About a five-hour drive separates the two areas. Paul is making weekly trips to Mexico when he preaches at their sister church, Cristo Rey in Piedras Negras. Paul described a situation of unrelenting poverty. In his church, those with and without legal documents worship together. Paul has a strong vision for the ministry, and an investment in its home grown leadership and sustainable future.</p><p>I would close by remembering the baby Moses, hidden in the bulrushes in the water in order to save his life. And by remembering the great conspiracy of the women, both Hebrew and Egyptian – slave and free – to save, nurture, and love the child. God grant such a conspiracy among us in our time.</p><p><em>If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response's work with Unaccompanied and Migrant Children, <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Unaccompanied-and-Migrant-Children">please visit the response giving page</a>. </em></p><p><br></p></div>07/24/2014Central African Republic: An Interview with President GolikeMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/262http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/262<div class="ExternalClass75D77C9D5EA645F7BBE697C9720B1F14"><p>​<img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Rev.%20Golike%20meeting%20with%20women%20in%20Bohong.jpg" alt="Rev. Golike meeting with women in Bohong.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;369px;" /></p><p>During an evening in which the now all-too-familiar sound of attacks was moving closer to his home, Rev. André Golike, the president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic, his wife and some of his colleagues hid in a closet and underneath a bed while members of a rebel group known as Séléka raided his home. Though the rebels searched the home for an hour, Rev. Golike and the others in hiding were never discovered. “God made them blind,” Rev. Golike says as he recounts the story of how he and his wife and colleagues embraced with tears of joy after the rebels left and they emerged from their hiding spots to find each other unharmed. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">For more than a year, the Central African Republic (CAR) has been ravaged with violence. Half of the country’s 4.6 million people have been impacted by the violence, and more than 530,000 people are displaced within CAR. The violence began in March 2013 when an occupied rebel group known as Séléka overthrew the government. An alliance known as the anti-Balaka formed in response to the Séléka rebel group and has also played a large role in the violence. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Though the Séléka rebel group is a largely Muslim alliance and the anti-Balaka a largely Christian alliance, Rev. Golike makes it clear that the conflict is not one of religious constraint, even though it is often being described that way in media. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">“The Séléka group is really more of an occupied rebel group, since most of the members are from Chad and Sudan. They don’t even speak our language,” Rev. Golike said. “The anti-Balaka is made up of Catholics, Muslims and Protestants from [CAR] who came together to try to join forces against Séléka. Muslims and Christians have lived side-by-side peacefully in our country for years; this conflict is not a religious war.”</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Rev. André Golike is leading a group known as the Committee for Reconciliation and Peace—a committee of religious leaders in CAR that is promoting and working toward exactly what its title suggests. Rather than fleeing and living in the bush as many have done and continue to do, Rev. Golike and other members of the Committee meet with people who have experienced violent attacks to show compassion and pray for their pain to be lessened. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">The Committee is composed of people from several different towns and villages so that the people with whom they visit feel comfortable talking openly with them because there is familiarity and trust present. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">“It is not an easy task, but it is an important one—and it is one we will continue,” Rev. Golike said. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">On a recent trip to the United States, Rev. Golike said he was moved to witness the empathy of churches in the U.S. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">“The people I met [in the United States] really feel what we are feeling at home,” he said. “We are one family; we are one body. Prayer allows us to support each other as brothers and sisters from all around the world.”</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Rev. Golike cautions people to not jump to conclusions about the conflict based on what they are learning from media, and he encourages people to advocate and bring more awareness of what is happening in CAR. “Most of the violence that is happening now is just reaction. An attack occurs by one group and the other reacts. It is a cycle that needs to end,” he says. “If we give voice to this, we are stronger than those who are hiding themselves behind this crisis. We need to denounce the violence that is happening.”</p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Lutheran Disaster Response has been working with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Central African Republic to provide assistance to those who are being impacted by the ongoing conflict by helping with food, seed and clothing distributions. If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response’s work in the Central African Republic, please visit the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/lutherandisasterresponse">Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>. </p><p class="MsoNoSpacing">Join us in our continued prayer for peace in CAR. </p> </div>07/14/2014Angola: Providing assistance as the drought continuesMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/260http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/260<div class="ExternalClassDAEFFBF423E84A3587C6D8246F014B57"> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/food%20assistance%20in%20Angola.jpg" alt="food assistance in Angola.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;340px;height&#58;227px;" /></p><p class="MsoNormal">Angola has been experiencing a prolonged dry spell since 2012, resulting in a food and water crisis. Agriculture is the primary source of income in Angola, and the drought has decreased the country’s agricultural production by more than 400,000 tons. Because of this, more than 365,000 households have faced a loss of income, food shortage and water shortage. During the past year, Lutheran Disaster Response has been working with Lutheran World Federation as we accompany people in Angola who have been impacted by the drought. </p><p class="MsoNormal">Even though the region has experienced some rains as the farming season comes to an end, food shortage is still a major issue. <span>&#160;</span>More than 12.5 tons of food items and non-food items are being transported for distribution in Cunene province. </p><p class="MsoNormal">Sanitation and hygiene conditions in the region have also been impacted by the drought. Hygiene kits have been distributed and spare parts are being used to rehabilitate 16 broken hand water pumps. In addition, 24 people, including health workers, local government representatives and church leaders, have been trained on hygiene and sanitation programs. The education that these people will be able to provide in the villages will help decrease health risks. Water and sanitation activities will also help curb and eliminate the risk of cholera, a waterborne illness. <span>&#160;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">Although rehabilitation work is being done, there is still much more to be done to help restore livelihoods and create sustainability. We as the church will continue to advocate for these vulnerable populations, and we ask you to join us in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Angola who are being impacted by this extended drought. <span>&#160;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response’s work in Angola, please visit the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/lutherandisasterresponse">Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>. </p> <p>​</p></div>06/30/2014Nicaragua: Providing support and recovery materials after the earthquakesMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/259http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/259<div class="ExternalClass7C608006A16D4D9CA7EAC5D4229A7239"><p>​From April 10-14, Nicaragua experienced three earthquakes, with magnitudes ranging from 6.2-6.6 on the Richter scale. More than 3,700 homes suffered damage, of which 1,035 collapsed, and more than 1,600 people had to evacuate their homes and reside in temporary shelters. The most impacted communities are the municipalities of Nagarote, Mateare and Managua. </p><p>&#160;</p><p>While the government has responded to needs within the city, there is an urgent need for assistance among rural populations. Lutheran Disaster Response, working with the Nicaraguan Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope, is providing assistance to the most vulnerable populations through food distributions, psychosocial support, hygiene kits and roof replacement materials. </p><p>&#160;</p><p><strong>Psychosocial Support</strong></p><p>The magnitude of the tremors and the many aftershocks that occurred over the following days had an adverse effect on people's health, causing anxiety and emotional stress. We will be providing psychosocial support to accompany people who were impacted and who could benefit from spiritual and emotional care.</p><p>&#160;</p><p><strong>Hygiene Kits</strong></p><p>Hygiene kits will be distributed to families who have had to leave their homes and are residing in the temporary shelter centers. Mattresses will also be provided.</p><p>&#160;</p><p><strong>Roof Repair</strong></p><p>Part of the recovery activities will include assisting with the improvement of 40 homes by providing zinc sheets to be used for roofs. The roofing sheets will provide protection from the rainy season that the region is now experiencing. </p><p>&#160;</p><p>We will continue to work with the Nicaraguan Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope to help those who were impacted by the earthquake recover and rebuild, and we will hold our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua in our prayers.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>Lutheran Disaster Response's activities in Nicaragua were made possible thanks to your generosity. We are church together and your support allows us to provide hope and healing when people around the world are impacted by disaster. If you would like to support our work in Nicaragua, please visit the Lutheran Disaster Response giving page. &#160;&#160;</p></div>06/19/2014Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina: Cyclone Results in Record FloodingMegan Brandsrudhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/258http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/258<div class="ExternalClass0CA40397474F4034837E88EA3F2A69D7"><p>​On May 1<span id="part1"></span>3, 2014, a cyclone hit the areas of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the next few days, the region received more than three months’ worth of rainfall, which resulted in record flooding. More than 80,000 people had to be evacuated, tens of thou<span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"></span></span></span>s<span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"></span></span></span></span></span>ands of homes were destroyed or severely damaged, and 53 people were reported dead. Overall, an estimate from the United Nations says that 3.1 million people were impacted by this <span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>domino-effect disaster.<span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">&#160; <span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span> &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; <img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Lutheran%20Disaster%20Response/Browse/Evacuation%20center%20in%20Serbia,%20Bosnia%20and%20Herzegovina.jpg" alt="Evacuation center in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;231px;vertical-align&#58;baseline;" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">Lutheran Disaster Response is providing immediate and long-term assistance with our partners, Church World Service and Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization.<span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">&#160;<span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">As part of the emergency response, Lutheran Disaster Response is providing food, personal health and hygiene supplies, disinfection equipment and tools. These elements are essential since water supplies, and therefore food supplies, have been contaminated as a result of the damage to power and drainage systems caused by the disaster. </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">&#160;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">Once the emergency response phase is over, there is still work to be done to restore housing and agricultural livelihoods. Lutheran Disaster Response will assist in the reconstruction of buildings and homes, as well as in the rehabilitation of agricultural land and livestock. </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">&#160;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">Many bridges and roads have been severely damaged or collapsed as a result of the disaster, making it difficult for resources to be delivered. We are committed to providing for those who are most vulnerable in this post-disaster situation, and we will target our resources to those living in the semi-rural locations who are less likely to receive the most immediate attention from other response organizations. During distributions, particular attention will also be focused on people over the age of 60, people with disabilities, female heads-of-households and children.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">&#160;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">Flood waters are slowly receding, but the need for assistance is long from over. Lutheran Disaster Response is committed to a long-term response to help impacted families move out of evacuation centers and back into their homes. <span>&#160;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">&#160;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;">If you would like to contribute to Lutheran Disaster Response’s assistance in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, please visit the <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/lutherandisasterresponse">Lutheran Disaster Response giving page</a>. <span>&#160;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom&#58;0.0001pt;"><em>Pictured&#58; An evacuation center in Serbia for people who had to leave their homes as a result of the flooding.</em><br></p> </div>06/13/2014