From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans Continue Relief Work in North Carolina and Texas

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date 20 Apr 2000 15:12:11


April 20, 2000


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- This Easter season Lutherans from across the
country continue to participate in recovery work in North Carolina and
Texas after massive disasters affected both states.
     Seven months ago Hurricane Floyd struck about 18,000 houses and
destroyed more than 4,000 homes in North Carolina.  Today members of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and homeowners in Grifton,
Seven Springs and Vanceboro, N.C., continue to repair homes and clean up
debris caused by Hurricane Floyd.
     "As we drove through Grifton, Seven Springs and Vanceboro, I
noticed many homeowners still cleaning up debris and piling it on the
edge of their property, tearing out carpeting and wallboard, elevating
houses, and continuing the long, slow process of recovery," said the
Rev. Gilbert B. Furst, director for Lutheran Disaster Response, a
ministry of the ELCA and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  Furst is a
pastor of the ELCA.
     Furst met April 14-17 with representatives of Lutheran Family
Services in the Carolinas and coordinators of Lutheran Disaster
Response.  He said relief work in North Carolina "is going slowly, but
     "A steady stream of volunteers are signed up and coming to help,"
Furst said.  More volunteers are needed, "for the job is enormous and
far from done."  Volunteers with some building skills are especially
needed, he said.
     "As we enter Holy Week, I see many 'death' scenes in North
Carolina -- ruined houses, long rows of FEMA trailers, small towns with
damaged houses, and people reeling from the effects of Hurricane Floyd
seven months later.  But we, people of faith, will not end our faith
journeys this week with the death of [Jesus Christ] on Good Friday, but
with his resurrection on Easter Sunday," Furst said.
     Furst said he is reminded that "hundreds of people across the
country are responding to the needs of the people in North Carolina with
prayers, contributions and volunteers.  I know that hundreds of disaster
survivors trust the Lord that people will come and help."
     In October 1998, heavy rain produced floods that devastated 1,350
acres in southeastern Texas.  Twenty-nine people died and thousands were
left homeless.  The floods produced about $500 million in damages to
property and land.
     "Unless you have been touched by a natural disaster, you might not
understand the time it takes to repair and rebuild," said the Rev.
Norman Hein, Lutheran Disaster Response director for Lutheran Social
Services of the South, Austin, Texas.
     "In Texas, for example, some people forced from their homes still
are unable to move back.  Others were so traumatized that they are only
now beginning to make decisions and get on with their lives," Hein said.
     Lutheran Disaster Response continues to coordinate volunteers from
throughout the country in ongoing relief efforts in southeastern Texas,
Furst said.  In Victoria and Cuero, Texas, volunteers help with
construction projects.   Furst said all volunteers are welcome, but
those with "electrical and sheet rock skills are especially needed."
     Long-term response is possible because of volunteer and financial
support, according to Furst.  Lutheran Disaster Response of Lutheran
Social Services of the South has channeled a total of $350,000 in
financial support from individuals, congregations and other sources to
help flood survivors.  Furst added that the $350,000 includes
contributions made by The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the ELCA's
Domestic Disaster Response.
     "Although the floods in Texas are no longer big news items, the
opportunity for ministry is as great as ever -- in Texas as well as in
other Lutheran Disaster Response sites like North Carolina," Furst said.

-- -- -- --

Editors: When listing organizations receiving funds for aid to survivors
of major disasters inside the United States, Puerto Rico or the U.S.
Virgin Islands, please include:

Lutheran Disaster Response
P.O. Box 71764
Chicago, IL  60694-1764

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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