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Disaster relief winds down as officials monitor Franklin


ALPHARETTA, GA (BP)–Southern Baptist disaster relief response to two hurricanes in as many weeks is winding down as the season’s third named storm that could impact the United States churns across the South Atlantic.

“As a disaster relief network we actually dodged two bullets with Hurricanes Dennis and Emily,” said Jim Burton, director of volunteer mobilization for the North American Mission Board. “Of course, for those people who had storm and water damage, it was very significant, and that’s why Southern Baptists do disaster relief ministry. But, we were ready for a worst-case scenario that didn’t materialize. For that, we’re very thankful.”

Burton said he was pleased with the pre-planning by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Southern Baptist disaster relief network.

“It’s very encouraging to NAMB, and to our partners at the Red Cross and Salvation Army to know that we can count on state Baptist conventions to respond on a multi-state level, and it’s empowering that we are able to make commitments of trained volunteers and equipment where the need is greatest.”

More than 1,600 Southern Baptist volunteers from Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Tennessee served over 60,000 meals and completed 250 clean-up jobs in Alabama and Florida the in the wake of Hurricane Dennis. Although some recovery work is still being completed, most of the units have been deactivated and returned home. No out-of-state units were sent into south Texas or into Mexico following Hurricane Emily, although several state units were placed on alert to possibly assist the Salvation Army there.

Now, disaster relief officials are watching the next storm, Franklin, move across the Bahamas. As of July 22 it was a tropical storm.

“Unfortunately, it has become a summer and fall reality for us that we often don’t get a lot of rest between responses,” Burton said. “We monitor the weather daily and stay vigilant and prepared so Southern Baptists can minister to those affected by these storms.”

Contributions to offset direct costs of the disaster relief response may be sent to state conventions, associations or churches responding to the effort, or to the North American Mission Board. NAMB contributions may be made online at www.namb.net/dr or mailed to the North American Mission Board, Box 116543, Atlanta, Ga., 30368-6543.
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For regular updates on Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts, visit www.namb.net/dr

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  • Martin King