By Roy Winter of Brethren Disaster Ministries with Loretta Wolf of Material Resources
Heavy and widespread mid-March snowstorms led to the beginning of major flooding in the US Midwest. Rivers are still rising and flooding may worsen with the expected heavy rains that may fall in the next several weeks. Flooding along the Mississippi River, James River, and Red River of the North, and many of their tributaries, is causing extensive flooding in Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas. Already many homes, businesses, crops, stored grain, roads, and bridges have been destroyed in these communities.
District disaster response coordinators from Western Plains District and Northern Plains District report no known damage to Church of the Brethren buildings or member homes. Church World Service staff report making smaller initial shipments of clean up buckets, hygiene kits, and blankets. They expect to provide significantly more clean-up buckets and other supplies once the flood waters have receded and families can return to their homes.
Material Resources ships relief materials
The Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has made shipments to areas of Nebraska affected by the flooding, on behalf of Church World Service. CWS relief materials were shipped to Omaha, Neb., in the amounts of 600 blankets, 150 school kits, 540 hygiene kits, 540 tubes of toothpaste, and 350 cleanup buckets. A shipment to Fremont, Neb., included 360 hygiene kits, 360 tubes of toothpaste, and 360 cleanup buckets.
Children’s Disaster Services sends team
On April 5 and 6, Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is sending a team of volunteers to care for children at the Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC) established in Valley, Neb. Additional deployments are expected as the flood waters recede and more MARCs are established in the most affected areas.
Brethren Disaster Ministries to support long-term recovery
Brethren Disaster Ministries continues to monitor the situation and to reach out to congregations, districts, and partners. In the near future, it will support the shipping of materials to the areas affected by flooding. In the longer term, the staff expects to support long-term recovery and home repairs in some communities.
Please pray for all the families, farmers and businesses affected by these storms. You can help by sending donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; or donate online at www.brethren.org/edf . Clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, and school kits also are needed for these communities. For more information, contact Brethren Disaster Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-451-4407 ext. 731.
-- Roy Winter is associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries ( www.brethren.org/bdm ). Loretta Wolf is director of Material Resources ( www.brethren.org/brethrenservicecenter/materialresources ).