Displaying items by tag: devastation
The tallest mountain on Java erupted on 4 December, shooting columns of ash into the sky, blanketing surrounding villages. Pray for the rescue workers who are still digging through thick layers of hot ash and debris even as the volcano continues to erupt ash. Dozens of bodies have been found so far and thousands of people have been evacuated across 19 makeshift centres. Pray for the families who lived in the 3,000 damaged houses. Pray for the farmers who have lost livestock and livelihoods in areas buried in ash. Pray for the hundreds of homeless villagers who lived near a dam that burst due to cold lava and heavy rain, leaving everything submerged under sludge and ashy dust. Pray for those with burns and injuries from the initial eruption. Pray for vulnerable groups coping with highly polluted air, and pray for public kitchens and health facilities serving the displaced people.
Strong winds and hot weather are making it difficult to quell two fires in Aude and Vaucluse, causing the evacuation of 130 people. 300+ hectares have been burnt, in new breakouts injuring 132 firefighters. Forest fires covering 210 hectares have hit the south of France as a 7,000-hectare blaze near Saint-Tropez continues. People have died and others are missing in the blazes. On 17 August a fire restarted overnight in Beaumes-de-Venise, fanned by strong winds. Over 1,000 firefighters tackled a blaze in Var, where a man died in his house. A woman is reported missing after calling her family while surrounded by fire. Blazes have erupted in Bizanet and Narbonne, with 70-80kph wind gusts threatening more outbreaks.
The Dixie Fire is the largest of nearly 100 major wildfires burning across a dozen western US states, including Alaska. Two mountain communities were incinerated, and a utility company blacked out 51,000 customers to prevent new blazes. Two weeks after the fire destroyed Greenville, the Caldor Fire a few miles southeast exploded and ravaged Grizzly Flats, a forest community of around 1,200 people, destroying more than 50 homes. Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in El Dorado County. Both fires grew by tens of thousands of acres in two days. Numerous resources were put into the Susanville area, with 18,000 people. Residents were warned to be ready to evacuate. By 19 August over 2.4 million acres were burned in 104 large fires and complexes in twelve states, involving over 25,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel.
Days of torrential downpours caused rivers and dams to overflow around Sydney and south-east Queensland. The military helped search and rescue in a ‘one-in-fifty-years event’. By 22 March 18,000 people had been evacuated and 10 million people across Australia were under a weather warning. Dead livestock floated through floodwater and houses were engulfed, causing over 22,000 flood damage claims to be lodged by 25 March. Receding waterlevels have begun to expose the extent of flood devastation to collapsed homes and businesses.Pray for those who have lost homes, farms, cattle, and businesses to have government support. Pray for people ordered to evacuate, still sheltering in centres living in fear and apprehension of what they will find when they return home. Pray for people warned to prepare for flash flooding and landslides as rivers rush in their direction. New South Wales Health is warning residents to be aware of the risk of contamination and water-borne diseases. See
The Philippines is used to powerful storms, but this year preparations are being complicated by Covid-19 which has killed 7,221 people so far. On 1 November, in preparation for Typhoon Goni, 361,000 people were evacuated to tents inside school gymnasiums and government-run evacuation centres. Coronavirus patients are treated in isolation tents. Goni damaged 90% of the buildings in Virac, the first town it struck. Pray for the 70,000 residents who have lost so much, including lives. Pray for those in several other towns still inaccessible on 5 November. Pray for successful relief efforts being complicated by the pandemic. Pray for the 370,000 displaced people not knowing what they will find when they return home. Tens of thousands of homes are completely destroyed. Goni is the worst typhoon to hit the Philippines in seven years. With communication not yet completely restored it is difficult to obtain information. Pray for speedy repairs to electricity, water, and cellular networks.
Super Cyclone Amphan, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal, has devastated Bangladesh and India with sustained winds of 165 mph - equivalent to a category 5 hurricane. Up to 300,000 people in coastal areas are in immediate danger from deadly storm surges and flooding. Thousands are homeless. India’s worst damage is in West Bengal's coastal districts that were ‘pulverised’. Nearly every coastal district in Bangladesh was damaged. Evacuations across the region were complicated by the pandemic, as authorities tried to maintain social distancing rules. Pray for the thousands left homeless as Amphan heaps misery on coronavirus-hit communities, particularly the 14 million in Kolkata - situated in its direct path. Pray for those in mourning, the injured, and those clearing debris from impassable roads, rescuing flood victims and organising aid as heavy rains continue to fall on hard-hit areas.
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.