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.


Alaska State Seal
24 Apr: Alaska Loosens Stay at Home Restrictions

On April 22 Governor Dunleavy announced Health Mandate 016 which outlines Phase 1 of his Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan. Phase 1 of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan, seeks to balance the ongoing need to maintain diligent efforts to slow and disrupt the rate of infection with the corresponding critical need to resume economic activity in a reasonable and safe manner.

22 Apr: Earth Day Call To Action

Recognizing the “immediate and dreadful” impact of the coronavirus, the UN chief urged everyone to “work together to save lives, ease suffering and lessen the shattering economic and social consequence”.

“Greenhouse gases, just like viruses, do not respect national boundaries”, stated the top UN official. “We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption”.

15 Apr: US judge cancels permit for Keystone XL pipeline from Canada

Judge Brian Morris said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately consider effects on endangered species such as pallid sturgeon, a massive, dinosaur-like fish that lives in rivers the pipeline would cross.

The ruling, however, does not shut down work that has begun at the U.S.-Canada border crossing in Montana, according to attorneys in the case. Pipeline sponsor TC Energy will need the permit for future construction across hundreds of rivers and streams along Keystone’s 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) route.

06 Apr: Alberta Backs Keystone XL

Last week, Alberta announced it would invest $1.1 billion in the pipeline and provide an additional $4.2 billion in loan guarantees to help developer TC Energy start construction immediately. Premier Jason Kenney said his government had been negotiating with the company for months, and that no private sector bidders were ready to finance the project.

“In other words,” he said, “without this investment by Alberta, the pipeline would not be built.”