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Cleanup operations intensify for Hurricane Floyd victims

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Nearly a foot of rain dumped on parts of eastern North Carolina by Hurricane Irene did not significantly affect Southern Baptist disaster relief efforts already under way along the East Coast from Hurricane Floyd, reported Mickey Caison, disaster relief coordinator for the North American Mission Board.
“Although the additional rain is significant where it was received, it was very localized,” Caison said. “Overall, we’ll probably have all the feeding units closed by the end of the week, and we are moving very heavily into cleanup and recovery” from Floyd, which swept up the Eastern seaboard in mid-September, leaving the worst flooding in years in its wake.
Richard Brunson, director of North Carolina Baptist men, reported that a recovery program called “Baptist C.A.R.E.” (Churches Assisting Recovery Efforts) that encompasses a “Church to Church” and “Church to Family” partnership has begun.
“Numerous churches and associations from in state and out of state want to partner with affected churches and families,” Brunson said. “The Baptist State Convention is developing a plan to help ensure resources are where they are most needed and to coordinate these with Baptist churches and associations. Lots of resources [supplies, people, finances, prayer] are available, and care needs to be taken to use these where they will do the most to rebuild lives and build the kingdom.”
Information on the program is available by calling (919) 467-5100.
Brunson said more than 700 volunteers participated in cleanup efforts Oct. 7-9 through 14 “recovery centers,” and 600 volunteers were deployed Oct. 14-16.
“A few years ago we placed an emphasis on cleanup and recovery units, and that is really paying off in our Floyd response,” Brunson said, noting that 30 cleanup and recovery units have participated.
“Volunteers are cleaning out homes and removing furniture, appliances, carpet, insulation, wallboard, flooring, etc. The homes then must dry for three to five weeks. Local government offices must inspect the homes before we will be able to begin rebuilding the home.”
The greatest need, Brunson said, is for building materials for use during long-term rebuilding efforts. “Our goal is to help rebuild 5,000 homes in North Carolina. We hope to provide up to a $1,000 grant to families needing assistance,” he said. Families are asked to seek grants through the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be applied toward building materials.
In the feeding operation that has been continuous since just after the storm hit, a total of 889,919 meals had been prepared by Southern Baptist disaster relief units as of Oct. 14. Two North Carolina units continue to operate at Madison Avenue Baptist Church in Goldsboro and the city parking lot in Williamson.
A feeding and “mud-out” unit from Kentucky based at First Baptist Church of Wilson had completed 64 cleanup jobs as of Oct. 14, with plans to close the evening of Oct. 15.
In South Carolina, mud-out crews from South Carolina, West Virginia, Florida and Georgia were working in the Conway area, and working with the Salvation Army to warehouse supplies. Donations for any goods except water and clothes were being accepted at a former Brendle’s store at 3545 Highway 501 in Conway.
In the Bahamas, which was blasted by Floyd long before the U.S. mainland, the International Mission Board is recruiting five teams of volunteers to assist with recovery efforts from Oct. 16 through Nov. 20. Participating states include Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia and the Northwest Baptist Convention.
Contributions to help defray the costs of the relief effort may be sent to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, North American Mission Board, 4200 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30022. Further information also is available through the www.namb.net/dr website or by calling 1-800-462-8657.

Martin King contributed to this article.

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  • James Dotson