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As floodwaters recede, relief efforts mount

ALPHARETTA, Ga.(BP)–With floodwaters finally receding, 28 Southern Baptist mud-out, feeding, shower and laundry disaster relief units are on site or en route to help people impacted in flood-ravaged Kansas and Oklahoma.

In addition, the North American Mission Board’s disaster operations center in Alpharetta, Ga., is helping volunteers in the field manage and coordinate requests for assistance in the two hard-hit states.

“We’re continuing to provide support and some manpower for Oklahoma and Kansas in the work they’re doing locally,” said Mickey Caison, NAMB’s director for adult volunteer mobilization. “We’re in Coffeeville, Neodesha and Osawatomie, Kan., and in Miami, Okla., and Bartlesville, Okla.

“The rain has backed off significantly in the last few days. The water is dropping and we can finally get into the affected areas,” Caison said.

In response to requests from local Southern Baptists in Kansas and Oklahoma, the NAMB center is coordinating and mobilizing mud-out teams, along with laundry and shower units.

Kansas is still in need of mud-out units, with up to 400 homes in Coffeeville alone putting in requests for cleanup assistance. Another 200 homes n Neodesha are now ready for mud-out crews, while as many as 625 living units are affected in Osawatomie, Kan.

According to disaster operations center statistics for Kansas and Oklahoma, nearly 24,000 meals have been prepared and served to flood victims and disaster relief volunteers.

The 12 states responding to the disaster operations center’s call for help so far include Kentucky, Mississippi, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, New Mexico, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Missouri and Indiana.

Kansas — particularly the small 1,500-person town of Greensburg — continues to recover from the massive F-5 tornado that struck there in early May, wiping out an estimated 95 percent of the town and killing a dozen people.

Just last Sunday (July 8), Southern Baptists in Greensburg dedicated and conducted the first worship service in a new mobile chapel – a 35- by 80-foot double-wide trailer underwritten by a $65,000 grant from NAMB. Local citizens raised another $10,000 to furnish the chapel’s interior.

Able to seat 100 worshippers, the new mobile chapel represents the first-ever Southern Baptist church in Greensburg, according to Bob Mills, state director of missions for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists.

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  • Mickey Noah