OLYMPIA: Diocese responds to recent severe weather

December 7, 2007

The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia reported December 6 that most of the people and places in the diocese fared "remarkably well" in the most recent severe weather that hit the Pacific Northwest.

"With the exception of a few leaky roofs, wet carpets and slightly askew outdoor features, our churches and people held up well," the news release said.

The Associated Press reported December 6 that recovery efforts had begun following a deadly wave of storms that killed seven people in Washington state and Oregon.

Storms the previous weekend slammed the two states with 120 mph winds, dumping 13 inches of rain in 30 hours. Trees were flattened and roads submerged, including a 20-mile stretch of the critical Interstate 5 highway linking Portland and Seattle, which was awash with more than 10 feet of muddy floodwater. Hundreds of homes were submerged and livestock was killed or severely stressed.

Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is in touch with the Diocese of Olympia and the Diocese of Oregon, both of which are currently conducting needs assessments of their areas. ERD will be supporting their relief efforts as soon needs have been identified and prioritized.

To help people affected by the winter storms in the Pacific Northwest, please make a donation to ERD's "Emergency Relief Fund" online at http://www.er-d.org/ , or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development "Emergency Relief Fund" P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.

The diocesan release suggested donations be sent to the Diocese of Olympia, P.O. Box 12126, Seattle, WA 98102, earmarked for ECWW FLOOD RELIEF, attn: Sharon Pethers. The diocese is following the lead of the State of Washington and requesting that donations be of cash and not in-kind goods, as those are already overwhelming service agencies throughout the region.

While a specific disaster response plan is not in place, the release said, the diocese does have a representative who is working with Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters and Washington Interfaith Disaster Recovery Organization. Plans are being made and will be communicated as they become available, the release said.

The Rev. Earl Grout is coordinating volunteers with experience in disaster recovery and congregations who are willing and able to host disaster-recovery teams.

"Your continued prayers for those in need are certainly appreciated," the release said.

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