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Southeast Asia floods affect Lutheran churches

October 12, 2011 2 Comments

by James Morgan

A Cambodian woman (L) carries her baby as she walks through floodwaters in Kandal province (AFP)

Heavy monsoon rains and typhoons in Southeast Asia have led to devastating floods in recent weeks. According to news reports, as of October 11, the flooding has affected 2.5 million people and at least 500 people are dead in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. A German shortwave service reports 270 people have died in Cambodia since August; 270,000 families have waterlogged homes or destroyed livelihoods; and 350,000 hectares of farmland are underwater.

The president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia (ELCC) Rev. Vanarith Chhim has asked for Christians in Lutheran churches around the world to remember the situation in prayer and to offer support. “Most church’s [members] lost their crops and flocks,” reports the ELCC president, noting there is a lack of shelter and safe drinking water. He says government assistance is slow to arrive due to religious conflict in the country. “Buddhist victims are in the priority while Christian victims are not in much care and concern,” says President Chhim. Flood waters have overtaken the home of ELCC Pastor Kim Hai along with the church buildings where he serves.

In Thailand, equally destructive flooding has killed nearly 300 people and threats the low-lying capital city of Bangkok, which is only two metres above sea level, according to the BBC World Service. So far, the flooding has not affected congregations of the Thailand Concordia Lutheran Church (TCLC) with which Lutheran Church–Canada signed an agreement of cooperation in June. However, there is still concern that floodwaters will reach Bangkok and cause damage, says TCLC President, Rev. Pornprom (Ted) NaThalang. “We have moved some of our books and equipment up to the second floor, just in case the situation gets very bad,” he says, adding; “Please do pray for the people who are affected by the flooding.”

Kirsten Mildren, a spokeswoman for the United Nations humanitarian affairs agency told Voice of America on October 11 that four typhoons in a row swept through the area in recent weeks, along with the usual monsoon rain, causing significant flooding in the Mekong River basin which drains into Cambodia, Laos,Vietnam, and Thailand.

LCC President Robert Bugbee is encouraging Lutherans in Canada to pray for those who are suffering from the flooding. “We are currently looking at how we can provide support to Cambodia,” he reported. “In the meantime, we need to keep Southeast Asia and our brothers and sisters in Christ there in our prayers.”

To donate to flood relief efforts by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cambodia, go to www.lutheranchurch.ca/donate.

2 Comments »

  • justinbanner12 said:

    Yap its very bad news for
    Asian people. I’m glad that higher authority taking all the necessary steps
    what must take to. I hope soon they will recover from these devastating floods.
    Thanks :)

  • david_wister said:

    I’m feeling very sad for all
    of those Asian people. I mean they are facing huge trouble. But it made me
    happy all over the world peoples are praying for them. Thanks

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