2011 has been a year of extreme natural disasters within the United States. This past spring saw wildfires, storms and tornadoes — including two devastating tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri — and record or near record flooding from the upper Midwest through the Southeastern states. Forty presbyteries in 24 states received PDA assistance for responding to a natural disaster this year.
Over the past few days we have seen the anomaly of an East Coast earthquake in Virginia, measuring 5.8, that shook communities from Georgia to Maine. The Virginia quake was preceded the day before by the largest natural earthquake in Colorado in more than a century, when a 5.3 quake shook the southeast corner of the state.
In addition to these rare earthquakes, there are predictions that Hurricane Irene could become a major hurricane before making landfall somewhere from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to points along the eastern seaboard. As the first hurricane of the 2011 season, Irene is a reminder that we have entered the heart of hurricane season.
A key to survival during times of disaster is being prepared. PDA has links on its web site to information about disaster preparedness that can help families and communities learn how to respond to various types of disaster situations. There is also an online training for congregations, Community Arise!, that was designed for church leaders, to answer questions about how your congregation can prepare and respond if disaster moves through your community.
We encourage you to download and use these resources and to share this information with others. Visit PDA’s Disaster Preparedness Resources page.