Blagoveschensk, Russia, August 6, 2019
A special commission has been created in the Blagoveschensk Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church to help the thousands who are suffering from the recent flooding in the far eastern Amur Province.
The Church is asking people to bring warm clothes, shoes, groceries, bedding, personal hygiene products, potable water, and dishes to the diocesan administration, reports the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Services.
The Church is also collecting funds to purchase stationery for school children and equipment for drying flooded premises, with assistance being collected in all parishes of the diocese.
Flooding in the Zeya River basin began July 21, and the province has been in a state of emergency since July 25. According to TASS, as of July 29, 646 homes remain flooded in 16 settlements. 1,356 people, including 475 children were evacuated, with another 487 people, including 172 children staying at temporary facilities, and others staying with their relatives. The estimated damage at that time was $7.9 million (500 million rubles).
His Eminence Archbishop Lukian of Blagoveschensk and Tynda also sent a report on the situation in the diocese to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. The Russian primate expressed sympathy for the victims and assured them of his prayers.
His Holiness also personally sent more than $15,000 (1 million rubles) to help the affected residents of the region, reports Patriarchia.ru.
“This money will be used to help the flooded monasteries and parishes of the Blagoveschesnk Diocese, and will also be distributed among the socially vulnerable in need of help from the diocesan commission,” reads a statement on the diocesan website.
Abp. Lukian also addressed the residents of the Amur Province:
The time has come to open your hearts and souls to the misfortune of your neighbor. We are all together sincerely praying to the Lord for His mercy, the forgiveness of our sins, and the pacification of the elements. But there is something within our own power as well. Today I heartily ask you not to remain aloof but to provide all possible assistance to those in need. Indifference is more terrible than any element, and, above all, I urge you not to be indifferent. The elderly, young children, and those of poor health are all suffering.
“And there are those who have no one to help them,” the Archbishop said, appealing to the Christian conscience of his flock.