Category : Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(RNS) After Cyclone Idai disaster, church organizations mobilize to help devastated Africans

When Cyclone Idai struck the Southeast Africa coast last week, it swept away everything in its path, including churches, schools and homes in the Mozambican port city of Beira and beyond.

By Sunday, the number of confirmed deaths caused by the storm in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, already surpassing 700, continued to rise as churches, Christian relief organizations and agencies raced to aid the three countries most affected by the tropical storm.

After causing extensive flooding as a tropical storm, the cyclone — traveling at a speed of up to 177 kilometers (106 miles) an hour — made landfall on the Mozambican coast on March 14 and continued inland. On Saturday, agencies reported that the number of deaths had reached nearly 750 and was expected to rise in the three countries.

Last week, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said the number of deaths in his country could reach 1,000. Initial government estimates said nearly 1.8 million people were affected by the floods — including 900,000 children, according to UNICEF….

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Zimbabwe

(CT) America’s Farming Crisis, Laid Bare by Midwest Floods

The fields where my grandfather and his brothers once played football are currently covered by several feet of water.

My grandpa Bert was born in a small Nebraska town called Oakland, a couple hours north of Lincoln, just down the road from Senator Ben Sasse in Fremont. Like much of northeastern Nebraska, these towns are now in crisis, battling the historic flooding that has devastated the state’s farms and ranches, killed three people, and dislocated thousands.

Currently the state estimates $439 million in damages to infrastructure, $85 million in damages to homes and businesses, $400 million worth of cattle lost, and $440 million of crops destroyed, placing the total damages, by my count, at around $1.3 billion….

Sadly, I cannot help but see this quickening destruction happening in my home state. The flood has soaked thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses to ruin in places that already struggled with a trajectory of economic decline and despair brought about by forces outside their control.

 

To understand the impact of these catastrophic floods in Nebraska—what they will mean for the communities in the weeks, months, and years after the rivers recede and the roads clear—we have to look at the state of the farmers, the men and women who have loved this place even when no one else did.

 

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Religion & Culture, Theology

An RNS profile Article of Jamie Aten, a disaster psychologist who founded the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College

At the turn of a new year, people often anticipate weddings, births, reunions, a promotion or other joys. Few greeted 2019 this week by counting on a flooded home or a dreaded cancer diagnosis.

Even Jamie Aten, a disaster psychologist who founded the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, wasn’t prepared for the news he received in 2013, when his doctor told him he had Stage IV colon cancer. Only 35, he had a wife and three young daughters. His academic career had just begun.

But as his oncologist told him, “You’re in for your own personal kind of disaster.”

Indeed, Aten would come to see his encounter with cancer through his field of study, which concerns resilience on the community level (he studied Hurricane Katrina) as well as the individual level.

Now 41, Aten has written about his journey in “A Walking Disaster: What Surviving Katrina and Cancer Taught Me About Faith and Resilience,” which will be published Jan. 14.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper Front Page) How will South Carolina cope as ‘extreme’ weather becomes the new norm?

Scant attention is devoted to how we might avert the next catastrophe or whether we need to change the ways we function in a world where “extreme weather” no longer lives up to its name.

Climate change has caused our seas to rise and fueled ever-more powerful storms that hurl massive amounts of water from the oceans and clouds. And while much of our attention has been focused on the fragile coast, South Carolina’s inland communities have repeatedly taken a beating, as well, most recently from the trillions of gallons of water dumped by Hurricane Florence.

Consider that the tiny town of Nichols, a 90-minute drive from the coast, sank beneath floodwaters for the second time since Hurricane Matthew drowned the community in 2016. Rebuilding was still under way when Florence caused the nearby rivers to again jump their banks.

Climatologists and risk management experts say South Carolina, like much of the country, is woefully unprepared for these new threats, partly because the resources to help people understand and prepare for flooding are decades out of date.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood risk maps don’t consider several key factors, including sea level rise, development trends and extreme rainfall that can exacerbate flooding. Yet they are still the primary guides for how and where homes get built….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(CT) The State of the Puerto Rican Church, One Year After Maria

During those first few days, we pastors were in shock. What would happen with our families? What would happen with the communities of faith we ministered in? We helped elderly people and small children flee the island for the mainland, unsure if we would ever see them again. The devastation across church facilities and congregants’ houses was enough to stir further panic. How were we going to rebuild? Where would we find the finances and the labor to work through this?

On a deeper level, we were forced to restate the purpose of our ministries: How were we going to minister to our communities during this time of utmost need? After decades of prosperity gospel teaching flooding our Christian churches and networks, we knew the majority of Puerto Ricans were not spiritually prepared to deal with a dream-shattering disaster like this.

But God, who loves us and works everything for our good, used these trying times to refocus the spiritual mindset of congregations everywhere, reshaping our understanding of the Christian life as it was intended to be since the beginning of the church in Acts: a group of chosen and saved people living in true community, loving God, loving their spiritual brothers and sisters, and loving the lost souls.

A few days after the hurricane, local congregations started to meet—no programs, no liturgies, no buildings in some cases. They read the Psalms, sang, and prayed. Without jobs and with no utility services at home, a sense of shared community kicked in, and everyone started to look for opportunities to serve the most pressing needs.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The U.S. Government

(LA Times Front Page) Unrecovered–A year after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico still struggles to regain what hasn’t been lost for good — while fearing the next big one

The rain falling into Bianca Cruz Pichardo’s home in Puerto Rico’s capital forms a small stream from her living room to the kitchen, past a cabinet elevated by cinder blocks.

The living room is dark, save for some light coming from the kitchen and a bedroom. The 25-year-old cannot bring herself to install light bulbs in the ceiling’s sockets because she fears being electrocuted.

For a year, her landlord in San Juan has told her he will repair damage caused when Hurricane Maria ripped through the island last September, she said, but still nothing. The worst of the rain is kept out by a blue tarp that serves as a temporary roof.

“He says, ‘This week I’ll bring the materials over,’” she said recently. “But he doesn’t do anything.”

Throughout Puerto Rico, the destruction caused by the devastating wind and rain generated by the Category 4 hurricane a year ago Thursday still shapes daily life.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., The U.S. Government

A Terrific ABC Nightline Piece on the rescue efforts in North Carolina in the midst of Hurricane Florence

Watch it all, it is a model of a news story that covers faith seriously and respectfully.

“Q:What do you need?” “A:Right now prayers. We’ve done everything man can do. Now it’s in God’s hands and we’re going to trust Him.”

Posted in America/U.S.A., Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Police/Fire, Weather

Hurricane Florence Watch, Friday Morning

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

‘Try Not to Go Into Labor’: Tales From Those in the Path of Hurricane Florence

Charles Cejka, Edenton, N.C.
Unfortunately, my family does not have the resources to put gas in our vehicle. If we did, the gas pumps here in Edenton, N.C., are empty just minutes after being filled it seems. Long lines of cars wait for fuel to arrive.

I, myself, came here to this city to care for my father, who was diagnosed with cancer, with next to nothing to my name.

We have no way out, so we are staying. We live together in a double-wide trailer.

The family and I have spent the last two days determining what takes precedence to pack and store away. We have prepared meals ahead of time. I bagged up paperwork and made many of my meals ready to eat and water filtration materials available for use. We struggled to find water to store with so many store shelves bare, but we managed.

As Hurricane Florence gets closer, our fingernails seem to get shorter. All this family can do is double-check things, lose a bit of sleep and pray.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Economy, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Personal Finance, Weather

Hurrcane Florence Watch Thursday Morning

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

Hurricane Florence Watch Continues

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

Lowcountry South Carolina on Hurricane Florence Watch

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

(Stuff) Restoration of ChristChurch Cathedral risks delays if cathedral funding not granted sooner, Anglicans say

Restoration of the Christchurch’s Anglican cathedral could be delayed if the timing of public funding is not changed, church leaders say.

Church Property Trustees general manager Gavin Holley told city councillors on Monday that $10 million in council funding for the restoration needed to be paid sooner than planned. The money was needed within seven years, rather than the 10 years outlined in the council’s draft long term plan for 2018 to 2028, he said.

The Church Property Trustees own the cathedral building and land in central Christchurch. Holley, who was submitting feedback on the council’s long term plan, said restoration could not start until the $10m in funding is changed to within seven years.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry

(NBC) Faithfulness in little things is not a little thing–Heroic mailman still delivering the mail after California wildfires

Postman Trevor Smith has picked up mail from a senior community for the past 8 years. Today, he picks up their melted mailboxes.

Posted in Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(CEN) Caribbean picks up the pieces after Hurricane Irma

The Island of Anguilla in the Diocese of North East Caribbean and Aruba featured in the most recent BBC 2 series, An Island Parish. It was badly affected by Hurricane Irma.

Speaking to The Church of England Newspaper on 27 September, Bishop Errol Brooks, whom the TV programme described as a ‘rock’, said the western half of Anguilla had suffered the worst. This is the Methodist area and two of their churches had been “really messed up”.

Of the three Anglican Churches the roof of St Andrew’s Island Harbour had been badly damaged. The winds that blew throughout the day had lifted a sheet or two of the roof in the main church St Mary’s in the Valley, and water had got inside.

While the worship area of the new section of St Augustine’s remained intact the 200-year-old section of the church had been badly damaged. “I do not know where to start,” said the assessor.

Damage was worse on the island of Dominica, where one of the Pirates of the Caribbean films was shot. The roof of St George’s Church has gone and the rectory, where this writer stayed when doing a locum on the island, is badly damaged. Barbuda, a small island off Antigua, had now been evacuated. The island of St Kitts however escaped without any damage.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Caribbean, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(WSJ) The damage from Hurricane Maria–mostly in Puerto Rico–could be worse than Harvey and Irma combined

Hurricane Maria caused an estimated $40 billion to $85 billion in insured losses, mostly in Puerto Rico, catastrophe-modeling firm AIR Worldwide said Monday.

Maria was the worst storm to hit Puerto Rico since 1928 and devastated the island, causing widespread property damage and power outages. The storm also caused extensive damage in Dominica.

More than 85% of the insured loss is in Puerto Rico, AIR said. The firm’s preliminary damage estimate is higher than the firm’s estimates for Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas in August, and Hurricane Irma, which passed through the Caribbean before reaching Florida earlier this month.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(NPR) Earthquake In Mexico Hit Churches Hard in Puebla State

To Mexico now where the death toll from last week’s earthquake has climbed to well over 300. Structures have been damaged throughout central Mexico, including more than 150 churches. That’s according to the country’s archdiocese. Hardest hit were churches in the state of Puebla, the epicenter of the quake. NPR’s Carrie Kahn sent this report from the town of Cholula.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: In the center of town sits Cholula’s ancient pyramids said to be the widest in the world. It’s never been fully excavated, but to get to what is visible involves a steep climb.

Fifty-three, 54, 55 – I’m climbed at the top of Cholula’s ancient pyramid where the Church of the Remedies sits on top of the pyramid. Two of the beautiful churches’ domes have collapsed, and they’re not letting us go to the top. Instead, they’re holding mass outside.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: Dozens of parishioners have made the climb in search of solace in Sunday mass.

GERARDO LOPEZ RAMIREZ: (Singing in Spanish).

KAHN: Gerardo Lopez Ramirez is the church’s organist and tenor. He says his town is in mourning.

Read it all.

Posted in Mexico, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(WSJ) After Irma, Many Mobile Homeowners May Face Tough Choice–rebuild or walk away

Some of the homes hardest hit by Hurricane Irma in Florida are also the least likely to be insured.

Florida has more mobile and manufactured homes than any other state. These homes, which are built in factories rather than directly onto a lot, often house low-income residents and seniors seeking cheaper housing for their retirement.

The homes are also less likely to be insured than many other types of homes, with the Florida Manufactured Housing Association estimating as many as 50% of the homes may lack insurance.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Marriage & Family, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Personal Finance & Investing

A Prayer for those in Hurricane Irma’s path by the Rev. David Booman of Saint Michael’s, Charleston

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude; you are still the Master of land and sea. During this storm we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from calamity, keep us safe in the palm of your hands and help us walk in your footsteps with gratitude and praise in all things. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Spirituality/Prayer

The Latest on Hurricane Irma Watch–Track shifts a little South and West

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

The Latest on Hurricane Irma Watch–Track shifts Slightly West

There is still much uncertainty as to northward turn timing and direction.

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

Diocese of South Carolina Parish Priest Karl Bruns Writes his Parish–On Hurricane Irma and the Current Litigation

I want to thank all of you for your prayers last Wednesday as we held a diocesan wide day of fasting and prayer and ask that you continue to lift the Bishop, the legal team, the Standing Committee, the clergy and the lay ministers of the churches of the Diocese in your prayers.

Our appeal for a rehearing by the State Supreme Court was filed on Friday and later that evening, the news of our appeal was made public.  You can read more about the appeal here: http://www.diosc.com/sys/index.php, and you can read an analysis of the appeal at A.S. Haley’s blog; http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com, and further information can be found at Anglican ink: http://www.anglican.ink/.

Basically there were two appeals made; the first was made on the grounds of violation of the state and federal constitutional guarantees as well as violation of 300 years of application of the natural principles of law by the courts in South Carolina.  The second appeal for a rehearing was made on the grounds that Justice Kaye Hearn failed to disclose her personal connections to The Episcopal Church (TEC), to the newly formed diocese that is known as The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), and her membership at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Conway, South Carolina.

After the ruling was handed down on August 2nd, the Diocese of South Carolina and the joining churches, we were given fifteen days to appeal, and we were granted an additional fifteen days to respond.  Our motion to appeal was delivered on September 1st and TEC and TECSC will be given fifteen days to rebut our appeal.  They will probably ask for and be granted a fifteen day extension, meaning that the State Supreme Court would not make a ruling until the first of October.

The hurricane metaphor holds very true in our situation as after the first of October (or whenever the State Supreme Court decides what they will do), the tract of the timeline becomes very unpredictable.  I ask for your continued prayers and remind you to not only pray for wisdom and justice but to also pray for “the other side.”    Romans 12: 14 says that we are to bless (pray for) those who persecute us and that is what I strive to accomplish in my prayer life.  It is not too late for you to reach out to others and inform them of what is going on in our diocese and the unjust ruling that we have received and I encourage you to follow your conscience and act.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Weather

Overnight Hurricane Irma Computer Models Shift East

Posted in * South Carolina, Climate Change, Weather, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

An interview with Bishop Clark Lowenfield about Hurricane Harvey

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Pastoral Care

ARDF–Support the Hurricane Relief Effort in Texas

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Stewardship

Houston Churches Fight Flooding After Harvey Cancels Services

Almost all Houston-area churches—including the Bayou City’s biggest congregations such as Second Baptist, Houston’s First Baptist, Church Without Walls, Wheeler Avenue Baptist, and Woodlands Church—canceled all Sunday activities as a precaution.

The congregations were glad they did when unprecedented rain levels ended up blocking many routes and leaking into some church buildings by Saturday night and Sunday morning.

“We have five services on the weekend, and I cannot ever remember canceling all services,” said Chris Seay, lead pastor at Ecclesia. “We asked our community to stay home with family and to look out for their neighbors.”

Gregg Matte, pastor at Houston’s First Baptist, spent the weekend checking in with members of his congregation—from elderly evacuees to a local TV meteorologist—with whom he has been texting Bible verses in between broadcasts.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever prayed like that, like I prayed today, just asking God to have mercy on us,” Matte said in a Facebook video Sunday evening. “Just make the rain stop.”

Read it all.

Posted in Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

(Stuff) Cathedral means more to Christchurch than to Anglican church, mayor says

The Christ Church Cathedral means more to the city than it does to the Anglican church, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says.

Dalziel made the comment in Cathedral Square during Sunday’s launch of an 8.4 metre-tall model of the People’s Steeple, built by United States master carpenter Marcus Brandt.

Brandt, who has the support of the Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group, wants to rebuild the collapsed Christ Church Cathedral spire in timber and hoist it into place using ropes, pullies and 500 volunteers.

Read it all.

Posted in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

Prayers for all those in the Path of Hurricane Harvey in Texas

As someone who has lived through 2 hurricanes and fled from+prepared for many others, my heart and prayers go out to Texas. The single best word to describe going through a a major hurricane is DISRUPTIVE, and until you have been thru a Cat 3 or greater you dont know what its like–KSH.

Posted in Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(WSJ) Tom Freudenheim–The Cardboard Cathedral: An Architectural Resurrection Story

In Christchurch, New Zealand, one of the world’s most unprepossessing contemporary churches manages to be among the most spectacular and celebrated. Colloquially called the “Cardboard Cathedral”—officially, Transitional Cathedral—the potentially temporary structure was designed by Shigeru Ban (b. 1957), the 2014 Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect. Mr. Ban—who combined his native training with graduate work at New York’s Cooper Union, where he was strongly influenced by his professor John Hejduk’s revisionist views of modernism—has been celebrated for his use of unusual materials in creating buildings that can be rapidly constructed following disasters. He has also designed more conventional projects: the Japanese Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany, and a couple of museums (Centre Pompidou-Metz in France and the Aspen Art Museum in the U.S.).

The Christchurch project, which Mr. Ban worked on pro bono, came about after the 2011 earthquake severely damaged Anglican Christchurch Cathedral (1864-1904), rendering it unusable for liturgical purposes—a partial ruin, subject to disagreements about whether to restore and rebuild or start from scratch. The new structure is a few blocks away, on the site of another church destroyed by the earthquake. A court decision—insurance money couldn’t pay the costs of a temporary building—made private fundraising necessary (about $5 million, including overruns). Dedicated in August 2013, its modest exterior hides a majestic interior. Is it a large A-frame house, oddly misplaced in mid-city? But the church also appears descended from the hall churches of the late Middle Ages, whose radical design shift created wide-open spaces, less encumbered by the massive basilica columns that impeded sight lines, with interiors more useful as preaching churches, a development especially important with the growth of Protestantism in the 16th century.

Architecture’s tenet “truth to material” spans fields as disparate as the Arts and Crafts movement and brutalism, but Mr. Ban’s church suggests new by-ways of this principle.

Read it all.

Posted in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, Architecture, Art, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(Stuff) Christchurch religious leaders rally for Anglican bishop Victoria Matthews in her Cathedral Battle

Christchurch religious leaders have rallied to support Anglican bishop Victoria Matthews in her battle over the Christ Church Cathedral.

Eight religious leaders from all the major Christian denominations – including Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic – have written a letter to The Press calling for Anglicans to be “left to make decisions as to the future of the cathedral”.

“The role of the wider community (including other Christian denominations) is to respect their decision (whatever it might be) as being one that is true to their understanding of their call from God, in this place, at this time,” the letter states.

Read it all.

Posted in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Provinces Other Than TEC, Urban/City Life and Issues