From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans Report Hurricane Georges Caused $2 Billion in Damages

From Brenda Williams <>
Date 08 Oct 1998 08:23:05


October 8, 1998


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- "It is estimated that Hurricane Georges has caused
$2 billion in damages, making it the fifth most expensive natural disaster
in the United States," said the Rev. Gilbert B. Furst, director for
Lutheran Disaster Response.
     Hurricane Georges tore across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
before making its way through the rest of the Caribbean and to the Gulf
Coast states late last month.
     "The major focus of Lutheran Disaster Response will be Puerto Rico,
where there is widespread destruction," Furst said.  "More than 33,000
single-family homes were destroyed."  Lutheran Disaster Response is a
ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod.
     To help purchase and distribute emergency supplies for families in
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Lutheran Disaster Response provided a
grant of $76,000.  The money will also be used as a fund for distribution
to Lutheran families and neighbors following case management and needs
assessment.  Psychological, spiritual and financial support will be
provided for Lutheran pastors and church professional leaders, according to
     "An initial outlay of $300 in cash went into the hands of pastors for
distribution to church and community members to help pay for immediate
needs," he said.
     Lutheran Disaster Response will hire someone from Puerto Rico to
manage relief efforts there.
     Action by Churches Together (ACT) is also well-placed in the
Caribbean to help coordinate relief work.  ACT is a worldwide network of
churches, including the Lutheran World Federation, meeting human need
through coordinated emergency response.
     The Dominican Republic and Haiti were "hit hard" by Hurricane
Georges, ACT reports.  More than 200 people in the Dominican Republic were
killed and 10,000 were left homeless.  The death toll there could reach
     More than 150 people were killed in Haiti, ACT reports.  The town of
Fonds Verrettes was "virtually wiped out by a surge of water, mud and
debris.  At least 85 people were killed there."
     Millions are without safe drinking water and utilities in the
Caribbean.  In some areas, up to 50 percent of homes have been damaged or
destroyed.  Heavy infrastructure damages have caused difficulties in the
distribution of emergency food, water and other desperately needed relief
supplies, according to ACT.

For information contact:
Frank Imhoff, Assoc. Director 1-773-380-2955 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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