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Baptists were among those affected by the earthquake that struck southeastern Spain on May 11.

The tremors in the historic city of Lorca, in southeastern Spain, registered 4.5 and 5.2 and were the biggest to hit the country since 1956.

Nine people were killed and 80 percent of the buildings in the city of 93,000 residents were damaged.

These included the buildings of First Baptist Church of Lorca, recently constructed and due to be inaugurated in September, and the Good Shepherd Mission.

“The facade and interior walls and partitions have been badly damaged,” said Daniel Banyuls, director of the social work department of the Baptist Evangelical Union of Spain.

“Our Baptist work has been seriously affected by the earthquake, but there was no personal injury.”

More than 6,000 people were sleeping in tents in five emergency camps set up by the Red Cross and the government’s Ministry of Defense.

More than 40 families of First Baptist Church, including the pastor, lost their homes or fled houses that were badly damaged.

Some 90 percent of the congregation are homeless.

At the Good Shepherd Mission, 70 percent of the congregation are homeless and have had to sleep in emergency tents.

In both congregations, members are staying with family, friends and other church members.

The local women’s shelter, The Good Way Association, was also destroyed. Its president, Carmen Sanchez, is a member of First Baptist Church of Lorca.

The women have been relocated into apartments but there are no foreseeable plans for immediate reconstruction of the building.

Banyuls expressed gratitude for the support shown by Baptists in Spain and other countries.

“We continue to receive emails and telephone calls from Spain and abroad inquiring about the situation and consulting on how to help,” he said. “On behalf of our churches in Lorca, thank you. We continue to pray for them.”

American Baptist World Relief Office approved a $10,000 grant for its partner in Spain, the Baptist Evangelical Union of Spain, for relief efforts.

This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.

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