Church Assists Flood Victims in Eastern Europe

“Church Assists Flood Victims in Eastern Europe,” Liahona, January 2009, N5–N6

Church Assists Flood Victims in Eastern Europe

Church Humanitarian Services sent funds to the Europe East Area on August 22, 2008, for the purchase of emergency supplies and materials to assist hundreds of thousands of people affected by the area’s worst flooding in 200 years.

At least 65 people died and nearly 90,000 homes received flood damage in parts of Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania. Some residents fled the area, while others stayed.

“Many just sit in their yards and look at their homes and cry,” said Elder Austin Hinkle, a full-time senior missionary in the Ukraine Kyiv Mission, serving with his wife, Sister Susan Hinkle.

Church members and missionaries near each of the affected areas formed groups and traveled to flood-stricken communities and villages to help with the cleanup. Saints also assembled hygiene and cleaning kits to distribute to local villages.

“Those who suffered the greatest loss are simple people, but they are grateful people,” said Sister Connie Durrance, who is serving as an area welfare specialist in Europe.

Church members also helped victims repair their homes, which in some cases were primarily made out of mud and straw. Elder Hinkle said the flood also damaged some people’s winter supply of food.

The floods began after nearly a week of torrential rains in late July 2008. The rain caused rivers to overflow, submerging homes, bridges, and roads. The flooding also damaged more than 200,000 acres (90,000 ha) of farmland.

Aid continued to arrive in towns and villages throughout August and into September.

This home was one of 90,000 damaged by historic flooding in Eastern Europe.

Photograph by Gerald D. Jacobs