The president of the Franco-Belgian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Rúben De Abreu, released a letter on July 16, 2021, reacting to the catastrophic floods that are devastating several western European countries. As of July 19, at least 196 people are dead, and hundreds more remain missing after widespread flooding hit large parts of western Europe. A desperate search for survivors continues despite significant obstacles and difficulties.
At least 164 people died in Germany due to the heavy floods across its western states. In Belgium, 31 were confirmed dead. Authorities warned that the number could go up. Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands have also been affected by the extreme rainfall but have not reported any fatalities. Images showed entire towns underwater, collapsed buildings, and buried cars.
“In view of the images of the violence of the raging waters in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, and other parts of Europe, how could we remain indifferent?” De Abreu wrote in a press release. “We want to express our support for the victims, their families, and the rescue workers.
“This century is marked by the unleashing of the forces of nature,” De Abreu added. “Whether it is the intense heat that causes fires, the torrential rains in the middle of summer, or the virus that is shaking the whole world, we cannot forget the responsibility of human beings in these phenomena and the consequences of the massive exploitation of natural resources. What is happening these days is a vibrant call for immediate solidarity, but also for a long-term commitment to a different ecological ethic, with respect for creation.
“Now is the time for our tears to tell a story of solidarity and prayer,” De Abreu wrote. “The Adventist Church, through its ADRA [Adventist Development and Relief Agency] network, is committed to those who suffer, to alleviate, help, and support.”