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SBC DIGEST: Southern Baptists helping following earthquake, hurricane

Send Relief partners on the ground in Morocco began distributing urgently needed supplies in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake there. Photo provided by Send Relief

Send Relief partners on the ground in Morocco

By BP Staff

TALAT N’YAAQOUB, Morocco (BP) – The Moroccan state news agency says around 2,800 people were killed by an earthquake in the country on Sept. 9. Rescue workers are continuing to search for missing people.

Send Relief leaders and partners are on the ground in the region to help ramp up the response efforts that began within hours after the disaster took place. Send Relief said in a statement that it has provided urgent help and supplies to families that have been displaced from their homes.

“As you can imagine, the focus right now for first responders is on saving lives and rescuing as many people as possible,” said Bryant Wright, president of Send Relief.

Wright encouraged Christians to lift up the people of Morocco in prayer as first responders work alongside residents to dig through rubble and rescue those buried in debris.

Much of the areas affected by the earthquake are very hard to reach, Reuters reported. This affects not only rescue efforts but even the ability of rescue workers to get an accurate count of those missing.

In a statement Sept. 9, President Joe Biden called for Americans to pray for those facing loss and devastation.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Morocco. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by this terrible hardship,” he said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. is reaching out to assist as much as possible.

Send Relief has posted a giving page where people can give to support Send Relief’s international crisis response efforts taking place in Morocco.

Idalia response shifts to long-term needs

By Jessica Pigg/Florida Baptist Convention

CEDAR KEY (BP) – Mere hours after Hurricane Idalia moved through the region on Aug. 30, Billy Dalton, pastor of First Baptist Church of Cedar Key, and his wife sprang into action. Since last Wednesday, the church campus has been the primary relief hub on the island, collecting and distributing supplies on an all-day basis.

The church has received water, fans, pet food, cleaning and yard supplies, paper goods, diapers, food, and other necessities. It has coordinated with other local churches and businesses on the island to provide three hot meals a day and has even hosted food trucks.

More than a week removed from the Idalia, Dalton hopes to now shift from everyday feeding to assisting residents long-term. With a desire to move past triage mode, the church is seeking to serve alongside those in their community as they develop their new normal on the island – long-term.

“For all these communities, it’s going to be a long process of rebuilding,” he said.

With short-term rental homes damaged, local restaurants boarded up, and the booming tour boat industry out of function, many in the Cedar Key community will be without income and support as tourism comes to a halt. Because of this, the church is expecting their mercy ministry expenses to increase as they seek to help full-time residents get back on their feet.

“Normal will now look different due to Cedar Key being a tourism-driven community,” Dalton said. “We want to use everything we have, all the resources available to us, to bless our community.” (Read full Florida Baptist story here.)

According to Send Relief data, other churches serving in the aftermath include First Baptist Perry, Fla.; First Baptist Cross City, Fla.; Northside Baptist in Valdosta, Ga.; First Baptist Live Oak, Fla.; and Cornerstone Baptist in Inverness, Fla.

As of Monday (Sept. 11), nearly 5,591 volunteer days and 41,973 volunteer hours had been served and 60,649 meals had been prepared. At least 430 families had been helped, and the Gospel had been shared 2,751 times. Public feeding at the various Send Relief sites ended Sept. 7.

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  • BP Staff