WHITESBURG, Ky. (BP) – Ron Crow, the director of the Kentucky Baptist District Relief, is coordinating teams from eight different states as they work together in eastern Kentucky’s flooded areas.
He said the flooding is some of the worst he’s ever witnessed.
“It’s absolutely incredible, catastrophic. A lot of times flooding happens in a community or small section of town where the river is,” Crow said. “This is such a widespread area. Multiple counties are experiencing similar catastrophic destruction. The amount of water and depth of the water is beyond what I’ve ever seen in a community like this.”
He said Disaster Relief directors from other states who are more experienced have echoed similar sentiments. “They’re blown away by what they’ve seen.”
Crow has been busy placing states in areas through eastern Kentucky with feeding operations, flood recovery units and some laundry units. Kentucky volunteers will be stationed at First Baptist Church in Whitesburg where they began mass feeding on Tuesday. They also have showers for volunteers. Public showers and public laundry are set up at West Elementary School in Hazard.
Teams from Georgia (Calvary Baptist in Pound, Va.), Alabama, West Virginia and Ohio will be t the Freida Harris Center; South Carolina at the GAP in McDowell; North Carolina at Allen Baptist in Prestonsburg, Tennessee at Montgomery Baptist in Carey and he hopes to bring teams into Jackson. Texas will be bringing laundry and a unit of chaplains. He said other states will also be called.
Crow’s responsibility is to send out the call to states and find them a place to operate and serve.
“That’s the beauty of the cooperative spirit,” he said. “We respond and coordinate our state and our volunteers. When I ask another state to come, I give them a site and they operate it their own way. I don’t have to supply them or coordinate the work.”
Crow already has the Kentucky teams scheduled for the next two weeks. He said it is only the beginning for an area that is so hard hit. They are assessing damage and will do what they can to sanitize homes that are still standing. He said making sure everyone is safe is the top priority and that includes being well fed.
“One of the biggest safety issues is the mold,” he said. “We will work to get that cleaned up.”
Crow said an issue for many in these communities is that most of them will have to start from scratch.
“With the tornadoes, even those who experienced complete destruction, most of them had insurance that covered a portion,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of these people could not even get flood insurance.”
Send Relief is also serving in the mountains to help the hurting people. It’s an opportunity to bring help and the hope that’s in the gospel.
Chaplains from Kentucky Disaster Relief and Send Relief will be sharing with the flood victims.
“One of the most unique things about this disaster is the region that’s been hit,” said Coy Webb, crisis response director for Send Relief who served in SBDR in Kentucky before transitioning to Send Relief. “A bunch of small towns are being impacted, and many have seen their entire home get washed away. This is an opportunity for Southern Baptists to serve and proclaim the hope of the gospel in these communities and see lives changed.”
This story first appeared on Kentucky Today.