U.S. wildfire preparedness raised to highest level

FILE PHOTO: Rose fire burns near Lake Elsinore in Western Riverside County, California, U.S. in this undated photo obtained by Reuters July 31, 2017. Riverside County Fire Department via Facebook/Handout via REUTERS.

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. fire managers on Thursday raised the nation’s wildfire readiness status to its highest level for the first time in two years, as California and several other Western states faced heightened danger from lightning storms.

The National Fire Preparedness Level was elevated one notch from “PL-4” to “PL-5,” the top ranking on a five-point scale, recognizing that firefighting resources have been strained to their limits by the large number and scope of blazes in the west.

It also reflects the probability that severe weather conditions conducive to wildfires will continue for at least a few days.

The move allows for emergency assistance to be called upon from the U.S. military and even other countries, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

“Wildfire activity has escalated in recent days after thunderstorms, many with little or no moisture, moved across parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, sparking hundreds of new fires,” the fire center said.

The decision to raise the preparedness level was made by a multi-agency group of federal and state fire managers. The readiness status had been posted at PL-4 during most of July and into August before Thursday’s move, said fire center spokesman Randy Eardley.

The higher alert level means fire managers may be forced to let some large blazes they otherwise would have fought in remote locations burn unchallenged in order to make resources available to suppress fires posing a greater threat to life and property, Eardley said.

Nearly 41,000 individual wildfires of all sizes have scorched more than 6 million acres in the United States so far this year, well above the 4.2 million acres burned on average over the last 10 years, according to the fire center.

The last time an alert level of PL-5 was invoked was in August 2015. That same year, 200 U.S. Army soldiers were assigned to battle fires in Washington state for 30 days, while personnel and aircraft were brought in from Canada, Australia and New Zealand to support fire suppression efforts in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.

Thursday’s elevation to PL-5 marked the fifth time the highest point on the readiness scale has been reached since 2007.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported 38 large, active wildfires burning across seven Western states on Thursday, primarily in California, Montana and Oregon.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Joseph Radford)

South Korea bomb shelters forgotten with no food, water as North Korea threat grows

FILE PHOTO: A shelter is seen near the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. Picture taken on November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

By Haejin Choi and Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) – Long within reach of most conventional North Korean artillery and missiles, South Korea and Japan are far from prepared if an all-out military conflict breaks out as tensions escalate over Pyongyang’s rapidly advancing nuclear weapons program.

The United States said this week it was ready to use force if necessary to counter the threat from North Korea, which tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

North Korea often threatens to strike the neighboring South and Japan, vowing to turn Seoul into a ‘sea of fire’ and ‘a pile of ashes’ the moment it has an order from leader Kim Jong Un.

South Korea has nearly 19,000 bomb shelters throughout the country. They include more than 3,200 in Seoul, just 40 km (25 miles) from the militarized border drawn up under a truce that stopped the 1950-53 Korean War but left the combatants technically at war.

Chung Yoon-jin, a university student in Seoul, had no clue these shelters existed.

“I have never seen any signs that say ‘shelter’, although I have been to lots of places in Seoul,” the 26-year-old Chung said.

The shelters are not built to protect against nuclear, chemical or biological attacks. They are mostly in subway stations or basements and parking garages in private apartments and commercial buildings designated as shelters with the consent of the owners.

For a graphic on the locations of the shelters, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2rW8uvn

In Seoul, most bomb shelters have no long-term supplies of food, water, medical kits or gas masks, an official at Seoul Metropolitan Government told Reuters. They can’t be forced to stock up because no public funding is provided, said the official who declined to be identified.

In Tokyo, the Japanese capital of 13.5 million people has an unknown number of bomb shelters left from World War II, but they are not useable or accessible to the public, an official at Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s disaster prevention department told Reuters.

Tokyo has no plans to reuse the decades-old shelters or build new ones for now.

“The extent of any damage that could be caused by a North Korean missile is still unknown, and it will take time to figure out an appropriate design for a shelter,” the official said.

OBLIVIOUS TO MISSILE THREAT

While residents in Alaska and Hawaii are just waking up to the possibility of living within range of a North Korean missile, South Koreans for years have been exposed to thousands of artillery massed an hour’s drive or so from the border, in addition to short-range missiles and bombs.

People have grown numb to Pyongyang’s unprecedented pace of missile and nuclear tests since the beginning of last year.

“Every time, nothing seems to happen after (North Korea provocation), so now I feel I’m used to it. I think to myself, nothing will happen,” said Suh Yeon-ju, a 30-year-old housewife.

Unlike in Japan, where sales of private nuclear shelters and radiation-blocking air purifiers have risen in recent months, South Korea has no market for private bunkers.

One public bomb shelter that Reuters visited in central Seoul was in a large underground parking garage a few steps from a government complex building. A small sign posted at the entrance indicated a shelter, but people inside had no clue.

A person in charge of the parking garage said one day last year he came to the office and saw a “shelter” sign posted, but he had no idea what it was.

To raise awareness, Seoul has handed out 34,000 paper fans this summer with information about bomb shelters, and is in the process of creating other promotional products such as flyers and stickers, the city government official said.

But it’s difficult to get the buildings hosting shelters to put easily seen directional signs, he said.

Shin Ji-ha, a 24-year-old university student in Seoul, said she heard about bomb shelters but didn’t know where they were. It didn’t matter to her anyway.

“I would be dead like in less than a second (if a war broke out),” she said. “There will be no pain at all so I don’t mind that much.”

For a graphic on threat to Seoul, click http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/010041BR2VH/index.html

(Additional reporting by Yuna Park, Christine Kim, Dahee Kim and Se Young Lee in Seoul, Megumi Lim in Tokyo; Writing by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

Global Partnership for Preparedness launched at World Summit

People walk through a flooded road after they moved out from their houses in Biyagama

By Megan Rowling

ISTANBUL (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A new scheme launched by U.N. agencies, the World Bank and countries most vulnerable to climate change on Tuesday is seeking funding of up to $130 million to help 20 at-risk nations prepare better for natural disasters.

The Global Partnership for Preparedness, launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on Tuesday, aims to help the countries attain a basic level of readiness by 2020 for future disaster risks mainly caused by climate change.

The money will enable the countries to access risk analysis and early warning systems, put together contingency plans, including pre-committed finance, and respond better to shocks such as floods and droughts.

“The aim is to save lives, safeguard development gains, and reduce the economic impacts of crises,” said United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark. Development gains, in particular, “can otherwise be lost with each disaster”, she said.

The countries will be selected from the 43 nations belonging to the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group that spans Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. Backers hope to expand the program to 50 countries within five years.

Funding for the first phase has yet to be put in place but is likely to come from international institutions, U.N. agencies and government donors. Supporters hope the scheme will get off the ground by October.

One government likely to benefit from the partnership is the Philippines, which is looking to improve its ability to identify at-risk areas, and to bolster systems to respond to disasters, working alongside business and communities, said Roberto B. Tan, the country’s treasurer.

“If we plan ahead, we will create a situation where instead of wave after wave of climate-driven natural disasters destroying what gains communities have made, they can pick up their lives again as soon as possible,” he said.

The World Bank, which plans to bring to the table its expertise, including in social protection and assessing hazards, emphasized the current low level of international funding for disaster preparedness.

Less than 0.5 percent of development assistance today goes to averting disasters and preparing for them, according to estimates.

But Laura Tuck, the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development, said there was growing evidence that donor governments and the aid community have grasped the need to increase that investment, not least due to mass migration around the world in the past year.

“One of the most exciting things from this summit is the emphasis moving from responding to humanitarian disasters to addressing situations upfront,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Building resilience helps to address disasters, population movements, conflict, fragile countries – all that can be mitigated through investments in resilience.”

DISASTER INSURANCE

Separately, the World Food Programme (WFP) said it would extend disaster insurance coverage for African countries to help transform how they cope with drought and floods by improving their ability to manage risks before they hit.

It will use a commitment of $1.6 million from the Danish government to double the number of people insured in countries that have already taken out cover under the African Risk Capacity scheme.

By 2030, WFP aims to buy insurance cover capable of providing half its natural disaster aid expenditures in Asia and Africa each year, with payouts varying from year to year according to the disasters experienced.

Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said a new commitment made in Istanbul by donor governments to tie less of the humanitarian aid they give to particular crises could give agencies more freedom to invest in reducing disaster risk.

“It makes a lot of sense to do something today to have the outcome you want tomorrow rather than waiting for the shock to arrive,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

He recently visited southern Africa, which has been hit by its worst drought in the last 30 years, but the aid response is not yet at the level required, he said.

“It will be a shame again if we wait until we see the pictures of dying babies before we start rushing in and responding,” he said.

(Reporting by Megan Rowling; editing by Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Batten Down the Hatches!

Luke 21:36 NCV “ So be ready all the time. Pray that you will be strong enough to escape all these things that will happen and that you will be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

It’s only the start of the New Year and world events seem to be spinning more out of control.

A slumping stock market. More earthquakes in Oklahoma. Terrorist attacks across the globe. Continue reading

Dr. Paul Williams Challenges Us to be Prepared!

Our wonderful friend, Dr. Paul Williams, author of the amazing book, When All Plans Fail, will be visiting us this week at Morningside!  Dr. Williams will be giving an informative seminar Weds. night July 22nd on Preparedness as a Community with incredible insight from his book.  Jim and Lori Bakker will also be welcoming Dr. Williams to the show taping on Grace Street, Thursday July 23rd at 11:30am as a special guest on the Jim Bakker Show.

Dr. Paul Williams has organized and led medical teams in a number of major world disasters since the early 1990’s.  His experiences during his more than 25 years in medical missions in 105 nations gives him a very unique perspective on world events and human suffering, including in the United States.

Whether man-made or natural, the word “disaster” seems to be more and more a part of our lives.  Dr. Williams felt a calling to write “When All Plans Fail” to challenge individual believers and churches to become prepared for disasters so that they may be the “Salt and Light” the Bible speaks about during times of crisis.

Dr. Williams says that 85%-90% of people are not prepared when it comes to a common disaster. Many times people don’t prepare because the fear of the future paralyzes them.  We know it can truly seem overwhelming to start to plan for disaster.  Dr. Paul Williams’ experiences in responding to disasters more than qualify him to bring us insights into our roles and responsibilities to be prepared for ourselves, our family and our community.

We hope you can join us as we discuss how to be ready for a disaster, how to help each other and finally how to accept Dr. Paul’s challenge for us to step forward as a community and be prepared!

Prepping is Not Beyond Your Reach

We have heard from quite a few people who are concerned about how to prepare when their finances are very tight. Prepping can seem like it’s beyond your reach, but don’t give up; where there’s a will there’s a way! Jim and I understand this very well and we’re not insensitive to the plight of those who are challenged by a limited income.

Anyone who has read my book, “More Than I Could Ever Ask” knows that there was a time when I actually shined shoes at the airport to make ends meet and to provide for myself when I was in full-time ministry in Phoenix. People may say, “oh you poor thing,” but I’m not looking for sympathy and I didn’t feel disadvantaged even then. I was so in love with Jesus and happy to do whatever it took to provide for my needs and stay in ministry. Continue reading

“Prepper” Lifestyle is Spreading

CNN is reporting that more Americans are spending money to get ready for an uncertain future including stocking up on food, water, tools and skills that would help them survive a massive natural or man-made disaster.

The report also said the people getting involved in the activity are not what most people consider “lone wolves” but rather average American families who have genuine concerns about where the world is headed.

Charlie Hogwood of Personal Readiness Education Programs said that he sees a lot of people concerned about the collapse of the dollar. He also said that a lot of people think the more you have the easier it will be to survive but in reality those who prepare themselves and learn how to live will need less supplies because of their ability to grow food and filter water.

A provider of non-GMO seeds to prepper conventions says most of the attendees are people between 40 and 75 and over 80 percent of them have college degrees. He also said that most true preppers are not gun fanatics and do not buy into the conspiracy theories that most traditional media outlets use to denigrate those who are preparing for the future.

Whatever you’re going to do… do it NOW!

It is an amazing time to be living as the Bible’s Last Days events are taking place on a daily basis. Earthquakes have increased and even tornados have quadrupled!  This should not scare us but reassure us that the Bible is true!  Jesus said when all these things take place, He will take us, who believe in Him, to a home He has prepared for us!

Whatever we are going to do for Christ, NOW is the time to do it. Israel is God’s Time Clock and the alarm is telling us we are near earth shaking events. The AP news service declares; “U.S. Intelligence Officials say Israel won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.”

Iran has declared their goal is to wipe all Jews off the face of the earth including those in the United States and around the world!  Israel is surrounded by her enemies, just as the Bible says that they would be in the Last Days. We could be one bomb away from an Armageddon!

This is just one of the reasons Lori and I and all of us at Morningside are preparing for the Last Days great harvest time!  We are enlarging our school and adding a new production studio to reach the youth of the world. Our new ministry and food storage center, with housing for visitors coming for teaching and encouragement and a safe place in Times of Trouble, is under construction. The steel has arrived for this important building we call Morningside Old Mill Inn, which by the way, will house even a tornado-proof shelter for residents and visitors.

Lori and I are not only storing more food at Morningside and doing more to help our friends and faith partners get ready, we are adding to our personal storage for our family! The Bible even says that a person is a fool who sees trouble coming and does not prepare!  We believe what Jesus said would come to pass, will come to pass! And what Jesus told John to write down in the book of Revelation is coming to pass NOW!  Remember tribulation simply means pressure!  WOW, are we already there!

Why are we preparing this City of Refuge with power generators and its own food and water supply? It is to encourage and teach God’s Word, and store and grow food, and save babies, and train young and old alike, and to broadcast the Gospel around the world 24 hours a day!

I will give you just a few reasons why I am storing more food right NOW!  The number one reason is that I have spent the last two decades studying the Bible and focusing on the book of Revelation, researching in the Greek each word of this amazing book one word at a time and I am totally convinced we are living in Revelation Days NOW!  The “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse” are not only out of the barn but they are beginning to gallop throughout the world!

The number two reason why I am storing more food and have even put in emergency power into our home is America has turned her back on God!  The Harbinger warnings from God before Israel was destroyed have all taken place in the United States!  It was ten years after the bricks fell that Israel was destroyed and we are in the tenth year since 9/11!  Read Rabbi Cahn’s book, “The Harbinger” if you do not know of this important warning from God to America!  2012 is not the end of the world like many are saying, but as Rick Joyner has said, it may be the end of the world as we know it!

The third reason is that Jesus says in Matthew 24, that a sign of His return is there will be “no food to eat,” and there will be earthquakes all over the place!  In case of earthquakes or hurricanes or tornadoes or lack of food or riots or power failures, do you have a plan where you will go and where will your family meet if all phone lines and phone towers are down?  Iran plans to explode an Electric Magnetic bomb over America shutting down all transportation that has motors and our electric grid system. Do you agree it is time for America to turn back to God?  Our only safe place is in Jesus Christ;  He will never leave us or forsake us! The Bible says, “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord!”

It’s time to prepare food and water, for this is key to sustaining life!   Look over our food offers and get ready NOW!  One day it will be too late!

What do you think the Bible means when it says “In the Last Days perilous times will come?” Perilous means difficult, dangerous, furious and reducing the strength!  Are these difficult days?  Dangerous days?  Are people furious and has even the strength of America been reduced?  The warning signs of God’s prophetic words are flashing NOW!  Will you heed them and be ready?

Don’t be afraid – be ready!  Get your food ready for your family and have some for others too!  We can’t give them Jesus until we give them food first!

Remember that we love you and God loves you, He really does!

Jim's Signature Mailchimp

Faithfulness Leads to Favor

I really can’t even tell you how much I respect and love Jim for the husband, father and Watchman that he is!  What Jim does isn’t a popular thing!  Warning people prophetically of the soon-coming troubles that we, as a church and as a nation, are going to face is not a welcome message.  Yet, he does it.  Why?

 Well, his accusers sometimes say it’s for profit. Fearmongering is profitable, they say.  Well, I’ll tell you how I see it: 

  • when the economy fails and people can’t buy food at any price without the Mark of the Beast
  • when the trucks stop bringing in food supplies every day because of some natural disaster  
  • when the out-of-control weather causes crop failures and grain reserves are non-existent
  • when the nation crumbles under the weight of its own debt  

When all or just one of those things occur, and my children and I and all those around us have plenty of food to eat and good water to drink – I see it as a blessing of FAITHFULNESS!  Faithfulness leads to favor!

Jim is not only getting us ready, he is getting people all over the world ready because he is faithful to preach the message of the Days of Revelation!

Why is it that people would much rather hear how things are going to turn around for the U.S. and how we are going to rebound?  You know, the babble we hear from most of the newscasters and politicians today, and ahum…  a great deal of the preachers too.  But we cannot  rely on what we hear from people – we must rely on what we hear from God in His Word!  Matthew 24 is what we can rely on!  The Revelation is what we can rely on!

Jim doesn’t preach for profit – Jim preaches because he dare not do anything else!

Jim recently preached a message on “Woe! Woe! Woe!”  One of the scriptures he uses is 1 Cor 9:16:

“Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” NIV

A lot of people have made fun of us for preparing and teaching others to prepare, but we are not worried about those who mock.  We are more concerned about having faith without works.  The Bible tells us that faith without works is dead.  We are all about hope, but hope has its roots in action.  Faith without works is dead – it’s useless.  Hope without preparation is pretty useless too.  That’s why we prepare.

We want the favor of God – and because of that, we are faithful to preach the Gospel and to help people prepare for the Times of Trouble that are coming very, very soon to this country.

Love,

Lori