Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have expressed their heartfelt sympathies for those impacted by the bushfires currently raging across Australia.
Jorge Munoz, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia, said he is shocked and saddened by the unfolding tragedy.
“I extend my deepest condolences to those who have lost loves ones in these devastating fires,” Munoz said. “There is so much suffering, it is absolutely heartbreaking.”
In New South Wales, the fires have claimed eight deaths since Monday and more than 400 homes have been destroyed. A state of emergency has been declared ahead of what is predicted to be catastrophic conditions tomorrow. In Victoria, there have been two confirmed deaths while at least 28 people are unaccounted for. A state of disaster has been declared for six local government areas. Fires are also impacting communities in South Australia and Western Australia.
Munoz expressed sympathy for the many people who have lost their homes, including at least seven church families.
“I want to recognize the extraordinary efforts of the brave firefighters, many of whom are volunteers, and also the invaluable work of our ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) volunteers who have responded swiftly by providing essential supplies to families who have lost everything,” he said.
“You are doing a tremendous job in difficult conditions, and we are very thankful for your role in helping those in desperate need.”
South Pacific Division president Glenn Townend also expressed his sympathy to the families and friends who have lost loved ones.
“We pray for God to comfort those affected by this tragedy,” he said. “I would encourage our members around the South Pacific to please keep those affected by these devastating fires and the emergency services personnel in your prayers.”
Due to the fires crisis, the South New South Wales Big Camp, scheduled to begin on Sunday (January 5), has been cancelled. Some churches may be closed tomorrow so members in affected areas are advised to check.
Emergency funding is available for church members who have been impacted by the fires. Contact your local conference for more details.