The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) will provide financial support totaling $50,000 to the Adventist Community Services (ACS) that has been coordinating efforts to help survivors recover from deadly wildfires in of Butte County, California. The fires, which started on Nov. 8, 2018, and were later contained on Nov. 25, have been declared the nation’s deadliest in a century, according to local authorities.
“When a natural disaster strikes, ADRA, as an international humanitarian agency immediately activated its teams to respond, and equally so, to disasters affecting North America,” says Imad Madanat, vice president of programs for ADRA International. “Though the U.S. is not a territory we directly implement in, we willingly seek and reach out to ACS, our sister organization, to provide support to help them fill the gaps in their emergency efforts.”
ADRA connected with ACS shortly after the wildfires continued spreading to assist with ongoing relief and were on standby for ACS who was already assessing needs.
“Based on needs assessments conducted among fire survivors, ACS found that plates, utensils, pots and pans were some of the most needed items families were lacking,” says Charlene Sargent, director of Adventist Community Services for the Pacific Union Conference. “Hungry people who have lost everything are asking for kitchen items, so they can begin returning to a more normal life of preparing and eating foods they need and love.”
The wildfires destroyed 250,000 acres of land and took the lives of more than 80 people. Several homes, schools, churches, and hospitals, including the Adventist Health Feather River’s lower level and multiple medical clinics sustained extreme damages.
“FEMA will provide many families with temporary housing, but the units do not include items to prepare their own meals, which is of critical need for displaced families,” Madanat says.
Through the financial assistance of ADRA, ACS in the Pacific Union Conference will be able to purchase and distribute 1,000 kitchen kits for families who were displaced and who are being moved into temporary housing.
“As in any emergency response, it will take time for families to rebuild, but they have the full backing of ACS meanwhile as they endure these painful next steps in their lives; ADRA supports the efforts of ACS and is glad to be of assistance to help fill the need,” says Madanat.
The full extent of casualties and property losses are ongoing.
— Kimi-Roux James is Communications specialist for ADRA International.