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‘Inland hurricane’ gets D.R. from 10 states

CARBONDALE, Ill. (BP)–Nearly three weeks after what the National Weather Service called an “inland hurricane,” 170 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from 10 state conventions have worked some 850 chainsaw jobs in southern Illinois. Up to 400 jobs are still ahead, reported Jack Shelby, disaster relief director for the Illinois Baptist State Association.

“We had sustained winds of 90 mph, with gusts up to 100 mph,” Shelby said. “We had a lot of trees to fall because we’ve had a lot of rain this spring and the ground was saturated. We’ve seen a lot of tree root balls 6 to 10 feet in diameter and damaged trees with trunks 5 feet in diameter.”

Most of the wind damage occurred in the small towns of Carterville and Herrin, Ill., between Carbondale and Marion.

“Almost every yard in Carterville had at least one tree down,” Shelby said.

Chainsaw teams from Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas/Nebraska, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Alabama and Tennessee have worked together to remove and clean up the scores of trees toppled by the high winds. Also on hand were shower units from Missouri and Ohio.

Lakeland Baptist Church in Carbondale housed volunteers and served as a site for the Illinois feeding unit, which has prepared more than 22,000 meals since May 9. Third Baptist Church in Marion also housed some chainsaw teams.

The high winds initially knocked out electricity to some 80,000 residential and business customers in the south Illinois area. However, most power was restored within a week.

Shelby said Saturday, June 6, is the target date for completing all chainsaw jobs in the affected areas.
Mickey Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board.

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