Displaying items by tag: devastation
A missionary writes, ‘May we beg for your redoubled prayers as a “Double Whammy” threatens our communities. The Ugandan lockdown seems to be stemming Covid-19 and has just been extended for 21 days. Very tough on children; folk barely earning enough to eat; Sudanese refugees with 30% cut in rations and unable to plant more than a few vegetables; and the elderly with no one to help them. But many have spent lockdown in the fields, preparing to plant. Rains have begun and seeds are beginning to grow. This morning I rode my bicycle past fields of young beans and groundnuts. However, another threat hangs over us now. The locusts experienced in January have bred and millions of young are growing and devastating crops, trees, and cattle fodder. The military and everyone are concentrating on Covid-19. The locusts are spreading towards the huge refugee settlements and West Nile. Massive hunger could weaken the population, and we really wonder what might follow.’
Cyclone Harold, a category 5 cyclone, hit the Pacific nation of Vanuatu on 6 and 7 April, ripping off roofs and downing telecommunications across large parts of the north and west of the country as it tries to fight the coronavirus outbreak. There have been hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, properties flattened, and trees torn down. Luganville, with a population of 16,000, was ravaged. Communications to Vanuatu’s two largest islands are cut. Vanuatu is in a state of emergency, with borders closed to international arrivals, a curfew, and gatherings of more than five people banned. Some restrictions were lifted to allow people to gather at mass evacuation centres (see) On 8 April Harold flattened homes and flooded towns in Fiji. Emergency officials are scrambling to establish communication with outlying islands. Harold killed dozens in the Solomon Islands before destroying Vanuatu, and is expected to hit Tonga within days.
On 7 December Puerto Rico was hit by the worst earthquake to hit the island in 102 years. By 9 December two-thirds of the island was still without power. The earthquake knocked out the main generating facility and damaged other infrastructure. Six months after Hurricane Maria in 2017, many Puerto Ricans still had no electricity: even now, a quarter of the island has no running water. The 6.4 magnitude quake and 6.0 aftershock destroyed 300 homes. A 73-year-old man is the only confirmed death to date. Thousands are still sleeping outside or in their cars, fearful of being indoors during another quake. Governor Wanda Vazquez declared a state of emergency, activating the island's National Guard to help with recovery efforts. Pray for the hospitals, the vulnerable, the elderly, families and businesses among the three million people without power. Pray for the islanders, still recovering from Hurricane Maria (which killed nearly 3,000), and now coping with destruction and further disruption of their lives.
Thunderstorms are bringing some relief for firefighters battling deadly wildfires across Australia's drought-parched east coast; also, authorities have worked to trace the source of the fires, arresting two dozen Australians for potential arson. Meanwhile, as the flames consume tens of thousands of acres, Christians are issuing a call to prayer. While the rain has brought welcome relief to Australian communities and the fire crews, the unprecedented devastation continues. Fires have consumed more than 32,000 square miles - eighty times more than the wildfires that swept through California in 2018. ‘While we were fighting the front of the fire to the south, it came in from the east,’ said Balmoral resident Justin Kam. ‘While we were fighting to the east, it came in from the west. You don't really have too much of a chance when that happens.’ Pray for thunderstorms to continue and winds to blow flames away from communities.
In the Bahamas 70,000 are homeless, a carpet of debris covers the ground, 2,500 are missing, hundreds of body bags and coolers to store human remains have been delivered. The smell of death and garbage is everywhere as ships delivering supplies become lifeboats for thousands who have lost everything but their lives. Pray for all those experiencing unimaginable suffering, needing food and clean water. Bahamians claim Christianity, though nominalism is rampant. May renewed faith in Jesus wash over these islands, bringing beauty from ashes, gladness from mourning, and praise out of despair (Isaiah 61:3). Dorian had weakened somewhat by the time it hit the eastern coast of Florida, and then moved north to Canada where 65-foot waves and 100 mph winds pounded the coast near Halifax, home to Canada’s Atlantic fleet. Canada’s military was mobilised to deliver aid and help with evacuations. Pray for God's provision for the homeless and His peace for those in mourning. See
As Hurricane Dorian battered the US eastern coast on 5 September, the Bahamas reported 'total devastation' in its wake, with 'apocalyptic' scenes after being hit by one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded. The death toll is expected to be high. Pray for all who are organising food and shelter relief to deal with an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Ask God to release abundant quantities of food, water, shelter, clothing, physical help, healing and comfort to people whose lives have been torn apart. Pray for the damaged hospitals to be repaired, and for the elderly and vulnerable to be found swiftly by rescuers. Pray for the many bereaved, and those whose family and friends are missing. Pray for God to anoint agencies bringing repair to the infrastructure, and remember all those in North and South Carolina anxiously watching the oncoming hurricane.
Since March, Iran has been ravaged by record rainfall and unprecedented flash flooding. At least 26 of 31 provinces have been impacted by deadly floods. One city received 70% of its annual rainfall in one day. 76 have died, with hundreds missing. It is the largest disaster to hit Iran this century. Entire villages were washed away in minutes, and countless homes and buildings were damaged or completely destroyed. The story has not reached international news headlines, but hundreds of thousands remain displaced and grieving. Christians in different places have been helping to provide food, clothing and basic necessities for those affected. The Iranian government has been accused of mismanaging disaster response, with residents of afflicted areas complaining that action has been slow and insufficient. Iran complains that US banking sanctions make it impossible to receive donations from outside the country. The US puts the blame on Iran's leaders. See
For the first time in recorded history, Mozambique has been hit by two cyclones in one season. Category 4 Kenneth arrived six weeks after Idai killed 600+ people with flooding. Kenneth killed at least 41 people and destroyed thousands of homes across northern Mozambique. Ibo Island was particularly hard hit, receiving food aid only six days after Kenneth destroyed thousands of homes. The human cost of the disaster is only now being revealed. The UN described reaching Ibo as ‘incredibly difficult’. Initial estimates are that 90% of structures were damaged. ‘If somebody hasn’t lost everything, he’s a lucky guy because no-one has escaped,’ said a motorcycle taxi driver. Almost everybody lost their belongings. The World Food Programme said that Kenneth dumped twice as much rain as Idai, nine inches, or about a quarter of the average annual rainfall for the region - again raising concerns about climate change. See
The UN estimates that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people were affected by Cyclone Idai; the world does not yet realise the enormity of the situation. Six days after its 106 mph winds and rain hit southern Africa, thousands are still cut off. Beira, where the storms first made landfall, was not reached for three days. Every building in the city (population 500,000) was damaged. The whole region is without power. Food, clothes and medicine are needed immediately, but flooded, damaged roads need repairing before assistance can reach them. Save the Children warned on 18 March that 100,000’s of children are at risk as rivers burst their banks. Malawi was flooded by torrential rainfall before Idai made landfall in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Whole villages were swept away in the three countries. Pray for the military and humanitarian agencies trying to gain access to thousands of stranded people. Pray for abundant donations of food, drinking water, medicine and clothing to reach victims quickly, after what is believed to be the worst ever natural disaster in the southern hemisphere.
California firefighters say rains will aid efforts to contain the wildfires, but will also turn ash on the ground into a thick sludge. Workers will struggle in the mud, and there could be land and mudslides, officials warn. The wildfires have so far claimed a total of at least 80 lives. The fire in northern California, which has destroyed at least 10,500 homes in the town of Paradise, with nearly 1,000 people still unaccounted for, is unlikely to be fully contained before the end of November. Sheriff Kory Honea said it was possible that the full death toll in Paradise may never be known.