USA (MNN) — For the first time in a week,
firefighters in Southern California seem to be getting the upper hand in
fighting the wildfires. The fires
scorched 500,000 drought-stricken acres and displaced close to a million
It's the largest mass migration in the U.S. since
Hurricane Katrina and more than were evacuated during the 2003 San Diego
wildfires–previously considered California's worst. Property damage has reached at least $1 billion
in San Diego County alone, and President Bush signed a major disaster
declaration for California.
Many of the displaced are in a state of
shock. Although the region boasts
expensive real estate, there's a large segment of the population who will find it nearly impossible to recover from the fires.
"Churches always serve as a first response for
people to turn to in times of crisis," says World Vision's Jo Carcedo
(carSAYdo). She says they're partnering
with their church network to help those left destitute by the fires.
have personal care items, hygiene, diapers, things that people need most
immediately in crises like this where frequently they have to vacate their
homes. We're working through our
networks to bring those resources as they may be needed."
initial shipment also included tents, cooking sets, a water purification system,
bottled water, face mask filters and clothing. Their team is also assessing the
further needs of vulnerable, low-income populations who might not have ready-access to insurance or other resources.
It's times like these when the spiritual needs
become evident, too. "One of the
things that World Vision does particularly well is engage people in a way
that's supportive of the crises and some of the concerns that they have. We
also walk with them on their journey, as many of them might be reaching
out to God, perhaps for the first time."
Pray that the fires in Southern California will
cease. Pray also for those affected by the fires, including families driven
from their homes, those who may face loss of livelihood, children, the elderly,
and others vulnerable to respiratory problems because of poor air quality. Click here if you can help.