Disaster Preparedness & Response

ELCA Region 1 Collaboration

Planning, Partners, Resources and Hope for the work of Disaster Preparedness and Response.

Disaster Preparedness

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.

Social Service Agencies of all kinds serve the least visible and most vulnerable members of our society. During the COVID-19 crisis these populations are doubly impacted. Please consider how you can help.

Lutheran Community Services Northwest and Lutheran Social Services of Alaska are outstanding organizations and worthy of your support. Help them help others today!

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.

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 “Umatilla” 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.

Disaster Issues

‘Social disaster’ scenarios are also ongoing in either the United States specifically, or globally. Two are worth of special note at this time. 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 epidermic in this country.

While social disasters are not currently the focus on this web resource, it must be noted that disaster response is always complicated by the human vulnerabilities and the inequities our society allows. Social justice work is disaster preparedness work.



One year. More than 500,000 dead. What did the United States do wrong in handling Covid-19? What needs to be rethought? We asked scientists, public health experts and health advocates to tell us about mistakes, missed chances and oversights — and how to prepare for the next pandemic. Responses are edited for length and clarity.