This website is about Disaster Preparedness and Response in the Pacific Northwest. Specifically, this means Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. For ELCA Lutherans this is “Region 1.” For FEMA this is “Region X” (plus Montana which is in FEMA Region VIII.) Other faith communities, non-profits and agencies may draw their areas of engagement differently. Natural disasters, however, draw their own boundaries. Whoever you are, thank you for your work in Disaster Preparedness and Response.
The wildfire season was quite severe if Washington and Oregon States in 2020. Projections for the summer of 2021 are also of great concern. Keep abreast of your local news for wildfire reports, smoke or evacuation warnings and updates on drought conditions.
One in three wildfires are caused by natural means and are relatively predictable. Two thirds of all wildfires are caused by human carelessness. Please do you part.
Umatilla County Flooding
Three disasters are on the radar screen of people in the Pacific Northwest. The first would be flooding in the eastern part of Oregon and Washington February 7, 2020. Recovery is still in process.
Flooding from the Umatilla River affected areas of Wallowa, Umatilla and Union counties in Oregon and reached as far north as Walla Walla, WA. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for these counties February 8, 2020. FEMA announced they would render assistance on April 4, 2020.
For updates on Umatilla flood recovery progress please see the Flood tab above.
In March of 2020 governors in the Pacific Northwest began to issue ‘Stay at Home’ orders in the face of the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
Currently all states in the Pacific Northwest are in some phase of ‘re-opening.’ Businesses, churches and hubs of other social gatherings are gradually being given permission to open, or open partially observing sensible restrictions.
For updates on the coronavirus in the Pacific Northwest and the opening of ELCA Lutheran ministries please see the COVID-19 tab above. You will also find links to each of the six ELCA Synod COVID resource pages for congregational use.
‘Social disaster’ scenarios are also ongoing in either the United States specifically, or globally. Two are worthy of special note. These would be Racism and Climate Change..
This brilliant interview with Andrea Henry, “Understanding How White Supremacy Shows up in Systems, Policies, and Practices” offers great insight into how racism in the U.S. today complicates and amplifies the realities of addressing the coronavirus epidemic in this country.
Issues of equity and diversity are vital for us to address in their own right. All voices are important for the work of disaster response as well.
Last week the Hammer and Dance offered a disaster recovery framework to make the same point. There will be no quick “return to normal” after COVID-19. What is the shifts we need to make? Is now the time to make one?
We, with the world, have demonstrated an amazing ability to do what needs to be done in the face of a global pandemic. We have “stayed at home,” cared for one another, and embraced various technologies for worship, work and witness. We are invited into a new, COVID-19, normal. The invitation is anything but gentle, but it is an invitation that cannot be refused. To this end we now engage “The Hammer & the Dance.”