Friday, December 06, 2019


Share your stories and ideas with the network as you respond to crisis and disaster.
Tag » Disaster Volunteers

Prayers have been answered for residents of New Orleans as the city itself was spared massive damage largely due to levees having been strengthened after Katrina. Meanwhile, preliminary assessments on the disaster needs in greater New Orleans, MS, and LA are still challenging due to the extensive flooding. The suburbs of New Orleans appears to have taken the largest hit as local levees have been breached and damage to the 26 mile long beach areas of MS. In some areas whole communities are now underwater and in LaPlace LA more than 3100 residents evacuated in a rescue operations because they had not heeded the evacuation order. Isaac has dumped more than 20 inches of rain in three days. Mississippi’s Lake Tangipahoa swelled beyond its banks. Authorities will have to release some of the water to avoid 60,000 people from losing their homes to 17 feet of flooding. Governor Jindall is urging the residents in the area to evacuate. 5,000 people have been moved to shelters and almost one million are without power in the Gulf States.

Isaac has generated twisters and continues as a tropical depression headed for Illinois, Missouri, and the Ohio River Valley and may dump up to ten inches of rain as it moves northward. The rain will arrive as farmers see it as bad timing. After so many years and months of little rain and weakened harvests, the excessive rain may damage what was hoped to be a comeback harvest season.

Japan One Year LaterSunday not only marks Daylight Savings but it is also the one year anniversary of the most recent Earthquake/Tsunami to ravage Japan. That event caused the deaths of over 19,000 people with many thousands still unaccounted for. Now, a year later, hope is beginning to shine in that nation as people, businesses and communities are recovering and being rebuilt.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down a unanimous decision upholding the right of religious organizations to decide who will be their leaders and teachers. The Hosann-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church vs Equal Employment Opportunity Commission upheld the ministerial exception of the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion clauses saying government must respect religious exercise while not establishing religion. In a way it challenged government to preserve the freedom of religious organizations and not overturn decisions being made by a religious entity on determining their own leadership, beliefs, and teachers.

How does this affect the disaster response arena? The ruling affirms religious organizations decision-making authority affecting many Christian disaster and emergency responder organizations to hire, fire and implement their core beliefs without retribution. The fact is, the motivation for 89% of the volunteer first responders in any given disaster are faith-based, mostly Christian. If the Christian churches has the very heart of Jesus Christ removed from their response the very foundation for “why they respond” would be stripped away. No volunteers with a heart to respond like Christ, equals no volunteers!!

While protocols on sharing one’s faith should be sensitively adhered to in responding to disasters, nevertheless, Christians should take heart that responding to people in crisis is still a freedom of speech. We should not take that for granted, rather, exercise that freedom and right fully.