This summer, the rainy season lasted for over fifty days. The Korea Meteorological Administration [KMA] said it was the longest on record ever since it started its official observation. During this year’s rainy season (June 1 to August 15), the average cumulative precipitation in Korea was 920 millimeters, which is nearly twice the amount of average yearly precipitation. As a result, more than 1,000 landslides occurred, houses and shopping centers were flooded, resulting in small and large damages across the country, and 18 cities and counties were designated as special disaster zones. Frequently, livestock was killed or lost due to torrents caused by heavy rains, and farmers who were about to ship their crops were also severely affected.
Following God’s teaching, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk 12:31), the Church of God members went to flood-stricken areas such as Cheorwon, Namwon, Gokseong, Gwangju, and Gurye in Korea, and gave helping hands to grieving neighbors. In Cheorwon, where four villages near the civilian control line were flooded as the Hantangang River overflowed in 21 years, our Cheorwon Zion members visited Dongmak-ri, Galmal-eup. They swept the soil that had flowed into the insides of houses with brooms and removed it with dustpans. They put clothes and bedding stained with muddy water in large rubber baskets, and washed and dried them in the front yards of the houses.
Members from Gwangju, Namwon, Jeonju, and Suncheon volunteered in Namwon and Gokseong, which were flooded after an embankment along the Seomjingang River collapsed due to heavy downpours. First of all, they helped elderly people who had no strength or idea on what to do. For buildings where heavy equipment could not fit inside, members shoveled mud into buckets and carried them outside many times.
More than 240 members of ASEZ WAO, the Church of God Young Adult Worker Volunteer Group, carried out flood relief efforts from the early morning of a holiday. On August 16, despite the heatwave that began after the rainy season was over, members worked hard with beads of sweat, hoping their neighbors to find comfort and hope. Our young members visited Seobong-dong in Gwangju and Gyesan-ri in Gurye. They divided into teams and strove to restore houses and farmlands. The farmland restoration team removed floats and rotten twigs entangled in the persimmon trees on the farm, which became like a tidal flat due to the stagnant water, and erected the fallen crops in the pepper field. Some members cleaned up the collapsed greenhouses. Sister Mun Su-jeong from Gwanju participated in the volunteer service and said, “It’s heartbroken to see flood victims suffer. I hope today’s volunteer service will benefit them.”
Due to the unprecedented rainy season, damages constantly occur across the country, and flooded areas are short on manpower for restoration work. The Church of God plans to constantly carry out relief efforts so that the flood victims can recover their daily lives as soon as possible.