Evangelicals in the region mobilise on the ground. “We desire to help our brothers in Christ and be useful for the community”.
The severe floods that struck the Italian region of Emilia Romagna this week have already left at least 14 people dead and over 20,000 displaced.
On Thursday night, flooding continued in parts of Ravenna, where the City Council ordered the evacuation of houses in some streets where the water was rising dangerously. With most of the rivers in a state of alert, it is expected that there will be further rains.
Italy declared a state of emergency in the region after it was devastated with up to 300 landslides, 23 overflowing rivers, around 400 roads damaged or destroyed, and 42 flooded municipalities.
The government announced that it will allocate 20 million euros, for the first emergencies, as well as suspending tax obligations and mortgages for a while.
Rescue operations are complex because of the high demand, and in several villages there are still houses without electricity, telephone and drinking water, which are isolated due to landslides.
Agricultural group Coldiretti said that over 5,000 farms were under water, with drowned animals and tens of thousands of hectares of vineyards, fruit trees, vegetables and grain flooded.
“When we have six months of rain in 36 hours, falling where there had already been record rain two weeks ago, there is no territory that can hold out”, pointed out Stefano Bonaccini, president of the Emilia Romagna, in La7 television.
The floods also affected the evangelical churches in the region.
Iader Patuelli, who leads a church in Forlì, told Evangelical Focus that “in the cities of Forlì and Faenza the evangelical churches that are at the ground floor are completely flooded”.
Manuel Morelli leader of an evangelical church in Ravenna, confirmed that “most brother and sisters are fine”, but lamented that “the town and the villages around are quite isolated”.
[photo_footer] The floods also affected the evangelical churches in the region. / AEI.[/photo_footer]
“Yesterday we asked the firefighters to help a family with children isolated for more than 24 hours. We received them in our house for the coming days, waiting the situation normalizes. We ask prayer for us and for many people strongly affected by the flood”, added Morelli.
Since the beginning of the floods, many evangelicals have offered their help and opened their churches and homes for those in need.
"We know there are brothers and sisters in big difficulties in other villages, and now it is very hard to travel, but we desire to help them and to be useful for the community. so that we are organizing ourselves to go there", explained Fabiano Nicodemo, baptist pastor of churches in Cesena and Rimini.
Giacomo Ciccone, president of the AEI, stressed that "as in the past, the AEI wishes to maintain a high level of attention and awareness among Italian evangelicals to provide support to the churches active in the field and to coordinate efforts and aid according to the principles of the sound evangelical fellowship that characterise us”.