News Articles

Disaster relief response intensifies as Georges strikes U.S. mainland

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Disaster relief units from ten states were on standby early Sept. 28 for possible deployment into Gulf Coast areas impacted by Hurricane Georges, with two feeding units already deployed. A Louisiana unit was preparing meals for displaced residents and relief workers in Alexandria, and a Mississippi feeding unit was based at Midway Baptist Church in Jackson.
Mickey Caison, coordinator of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief for the North American Mission Board, said officials are waiting until severe weather clears before making further assignments.
The slow-moving but powerful storm made landfall early Monday near Biloxi Miss., after a deadly eight-day journey across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. More than 320 lives were claimed as it crossed the eastern Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and the Florida Keys.
The disaster relief response from Southern Baptists thus far includes an airlift feeding unit from Georgia deployed to help feed refugees and workers in Puerto Rico. A team of volunteers from North Carolina will staff another airlift feeding unit that is permanently based in Puerto Rico.
Disaster relief leaders, in association with International Mission Board officials, are conducting damage assessment on other islands in the preparation for a coordinated response in those areas — the hardest-hit by far in terms of casualties.
Additionally, three feeding units have begun providing meals for refugees along the Florida Keys. A Georgia unit is based at First Baptist Church of Big Pine Key, Fla.; a South Carolina unit, accompanied by a NAMB-owned shower unit, is based at Sugar Loaf Baptist Church on Little Sugar Loaf Key; and a Florida unit is based at Fifth Street Baptist Church on Key West.
Units on standby for response on the Gulf Coast include Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, and Illinois.
One of the primary tasks for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers is providing meals for distribution by the American Red Cross at shelters and for distribution in neighborhoods impacted by natural disasters. Other units, operated primarily by local associations and state conventions, provide such specialized services as chainsaw crews for clearing downed trees, communications, child-care at shelters, and “mudout” cleanup in flood-affected areas.
Contributions for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief projects may be sent to Disaster Relief, North American Mission Board, 4200 North Point Parkway, Alpharetta, Ga., 30022. Individuals wishing to receive training required to become a Disaster Relief volunteer should contact their state convention offices.

    About the Author

  • James Dotson