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DR ‘ready to respond’ after deadly nor’easter

NEW ENGLAND (BP) — Three days after a strong nor’easter killed nine people and battered a coastal swath from Virginia to Maine, Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers remain “ready to respond,” leaders told Baptist Press today.

Government emergency management agencies and other first responders in the states have been able to respond to the storm that caused isolated wind damage, coastal flooding and massive power outages to as many as two million people. Hurricane-force wind gusts were reported at the storm’s height.

“Currently, we do not have any requests for assistance for feeding or any disaster relief at this time,” Michael Flannery, disaster relief director for the Baptist Convention of New York (BCNY) that also serves New Jersey, told Baptist Press. “We’re monitoring the situation with the Red Cross. We did let them know that the Baptist Convention of New York is ready to respond to any requests that they would have need of.”

Neither have surrounding areas requested any assistance, Flannery said, after consultations with area emergency management agencies Saturday. “I’m not activating anyone at this time,” Flannery told BP.

Reports from other DR leaders mirrored Flannery’s.

Tim Buehner, disaster relief director for the multi-state Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE), said the warmer temperatures likely helped alleviate the need for a response.

“I’m praising the Lord,” Buehner told BP today. “Things are actually pretty calm. We haven’t had to respond thankfully.” Electrical power is being restored in the area, he said, and no homeowners have requested aid.

The BCNE serves communities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as a small portion of New York.

Sam Taylor, director of missions for the Greater Boston Baptist Association, said power outages and coastal flooding in his area have necessitated no disaster relief response.

“Farther inland, some of our churches and many residences have been without power, but there has been minimal structural damage,” Taylor told BP in an email. “One of our churches had to cancel a rather large pastors conference because power is still out,” he said, but no other details were available.

In the storm that struck Friday and Saturday (March 2-3), a ninth death was reported Saturday when a man in Andover, N.J. was killed by downed power lines, the Washington Post reported. Other deaths were reported in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and Rhode Island.

Amtrak service was interrupted between Washington and New York Friday but was restored Saturday, the Washington Post reported. Several governors declared states of emergency.

A second nor’easter is forecast for March 6-7, according to weather reports, as a winter storm in the Midwest moves east.