Salvationists in Russia are providing assistance to people affected by wildfires. Eastern Russia is going through the hottest summer on record, leading to countless grass, peat bog and forest fires.
Fires nearly encircled Voronezh, a city of 850,000 people some 475 kilometers south of Moscow. Six hundred people were left without homes.
Salvation Army Officers (Pastors), soldiers and friends of the Voronezh Corps (Salvation Army church) are providing what help they can to the displaced persons. Working with local authorities, they have assessed the situation and know the immediate needs. They are distributing food, water, clothes and personal care products. Plans are in place to give out bedding and small household items. Spiritual counseling is a vital part of the response by Salvation Army personnel.
The corps does not own a vehicle but it is partnering with another church which has two vehicles. While Russia is dealing with wildfires and unusually hot temperatures, Romania has been hit with heavy flooding. The regional township of Dorohoi, in the north-western corner of the country, was worst affected. Salvation Army Officers (Pastors) from Iasi traveled 90 miles to the area to help with the emergency response. They and a team of volunteers are working with the local administration to provide the families in greatest need with cleaning products, toilet paper, bedding and towels.
‘A sudden stream of water came and took everything people had,’ report the officers. ‘In less than 30 minutes the water rose two meters. Six people lost their lives in Dorohoi and 22 have died in the flooding across Romania. We found the people scared, desperate, hungry, naked and covered in mud. They had no dry clothes and no beds to sleep in.
‘The floods destroyed 520 homes in Dorohoi alone, affecting 2,200 people.’
The Salvation Army will continue to work in the flood-hit areas to meet the needs of people as they recover from the devastation of losing their homes, possessions and livelihoods. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, The Salvation Army is continuing to prepare a full response to the floods that brought devastation to the country. Captain Washington Daniel, the Salvation Army’s District Officer for Islamabad, went to Peshawar to assess the situation and help decide how The Salvation Army can best help.
We arrived in Peshawar very tired after a hard day.
The situation is hopeless and people are facing major difficulties. Most houses are damaged badly or have fallen down completely due to the flood water. River water came into many houses, rising to above six feet in some places. People are looking for shelter, going to relatives’ houses or to churches.
People are feeling hopeless. The Government and other non-government agencies (NGOs) have not properly visited them, helped them or prayed with them. They said that people from The Salvation Army are the first to visit and pray with them.
In some areas there is still standing water and people are afraid to go back to see their homes. Their houses and what they owned is mixed with mud. The buildings and houses are cracked and not suitable for living in. The smell of the water in some places is too bad to stand near. Human bodies and animals around the fields are still stuck in the mud. We asked the people what assistance they need immediately, but it will be very hard to fulfill all their demands.
The first batch of relief aid to go up to the affected areas – essential goods bought with the initial funding – is being put together and will be sent as soon as it is ready to go.
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