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United Methodists reach out in Europe floods

4 800 96120  United Methodists reach out in Europe floods

Floodwaters on the Saale River lap at the Christian Academy for Health and Social Care Professions, part of the United Methodist Hospital Martha-Maria complex. Photo courtesy of Frieder Badstuebner

The United Methodist Committee on Relief has reached out to Bishops Rosemarie Wenner, Germany Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church and president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, and Patrick Streiff, Southern and Central Europe Episcopal Area, to offer assistance after flooding in Central Europe, especially in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria, caused extensive damage in the last week.

If assistance is requested, the response will come from the International Disaster Response Advance #982450.

Klaus Ulrich Ruof, the director for media and communication of the United Methodist Church in Germany, has provided some specifics about the damage in Germany.

Here is what he reports:

  • The United Methodist Hospital Martha-Maria in Halle on the Saale River (Saxonia-Anhalt, East Germany), has been affected. In addition to a large hospital complex, Martha-Maria has its Christian Academy for Health and Social Care Professions directly on the Saale River. Because of its location, the academy’s teaching operations have been discontinued. The trainees were sent to the hospital as flood helpers.

    1 800 Bruecke in Waltersdorf nach der Flut 300x225 United Methodists reach out in Europe floods

    A bridge is broken by the flooding near Waltersdorf (Thueringen, East Germany), hometown of the family of United Methodist Bishop Friedrich Wunderlich, who was bishop of Germany from 1953 to1968. Photo courtesy of Joerg-Eckbert Neels.

  • On Monday (June 3), the Martha-Maria Hospital had taken patients evacuated from a hospital in a nearby town. In recent days, many more patients also came in from different crisis situations. Late Wednesday evening, Martha-Maria took in a group of dementia patients in a side wing that had been vacant because of renovation activities. A nursing student assigned to supplement the care team for senior citizens described the situation as “going smoothly.”
  • Martha-Maria has provided the flood helpers at some locations with hundreds of packed lunches and food rations. “We were happy to help,” said Pastor Walther Seiler, the managing director. After work, many of employees were filling sandbags and colleagues offered accommodation. Seiler said he is impressed by the solidarity of the people in the city and throughout the region. “This is a courage-making characters.” But, there are also situations no one had thought about. “We were organizing accommodation, supply and logistic measures to help people, but no one has thought of their pets,” Seiler said.

Bishop Wenner has called for prayer and solidarity with those affected.

“I’m grateful,” Wenner said, “that the East Germany Annual Conference will collect an offering for assistance at the closing session of the conference meeting.” She said she is impressed by the cohesion and the helpfulness of many people and hopes that the people get the support, they need.

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