DES MOINES, Iowa (BP)–Two dozen Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were in Des Moines and surrounding Iowa communities the week of Sept. 7 for “mud-out” recovery work following mid-August flooding.
The volunteers worked at 10 homes on Tuesday, Sept. 7, and more homes were being referred to the group each day, reported Ty Berry, who leads Iowa Baptists’ disaster relief ministry as the Baptist Convention of Iowa’s evangelism and pastoral care team leader.
True Bible Baptist Church in Des Moines is providing lodging and meals for the volunteers from Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky doing mud-out recovery. True Bible Baptist Church volunteers are feeding the crews with assistance from Iowa Baptists’ DR feeding unit.
Also at the church, a shower trailer from the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana is providing a place for the volunteers to shower and do laundry.
Corner Stone Baptist Church in Altoona, meanwhile, is hosting an incident command center trailer. Four members of the national incident command staff are assigning the mud-out volunteers to homes, while Iowa DR chaplains are assisting with assessments of damaged homes. The chaplains also are working alongside the out-of-state volunteers to pray with people and share Christ as the homes have been cleaned, Berry said.
The mud-out crews remove water, mud and debris from flooded basements and homes and then clean and sanitize the walls down to the concrete or the studs with a mixture of water and commercial mold-inhibiting chemicals.
The volunteers were finding that many homes had been damaged by sewer back-ups and ground water leakage during the recent rainfalls. In Des Moines, 13 inches of rain were recorded from Aug. 9-11. Communities also affected in central Iowa included Ames and Colfax, along with various communities in southeast Iowa. Colfax was especially hard hit and SBC Disaster Relief crews spent several days there doing mud-out work. In Ames, a number of commercial businesses were flooded, along with some buildings at Iowa State University.
Operations were expected to continue into mid-September.
Richard Nations is publications editor of The Iowa Baptist, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of Iowa.