News Articles

Tenn. leaders: Recent flood was ‘1,000-year event’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Calling recent major flooding a once-every-1,000-year event, Tennessee’s congressional delegation wrote President Obama May 11 asking for additional federal aid beyond what is currently planned.

The state’s nine representatives and two senators asked Obama — whose administration has declared 42 state counties major disaster areas — to request that additional federal assistance for the state be added to a supplemental appropriations bill that will be considered by a Senate committee Thursday.

“According to NOAA and the Corps of Engineers, the flooding in Tennessee was the result of a 1,000-year rainfall event,” the delegation, made up of six Republicans and five Democrats, wrote. “… Tennesseans are helping themselves and their neighbors, but Tennessee will require federal assistance beyond what current emergency programs’ funding can support.”

The legislators thanked Obama for the federal government’s response but said more needs to be done.

It “is vital,” the letter said, that Obama make the request. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, is part of the committee that will consider the bill.

More than 13 inches of rain — nearly double the record — fell in many parts of Tennessee May 1-2, overflowing the state’s many rivers and creeks and flooding thousands of homes. Many if not most of the damaged homes did not have flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said May 11 that 23,000 residents had registered for federal aid. Nashville alone suffered at least $1.5 billion in damage, according to local officials.

Southern Baptists across the state have stepped up to help, the Baptist and Reflector newsjournal reported.

Randy Davis, Tennessee Baptist Convention president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Sevierville, visited five associations affected by the flooding.

“This could be one of Tennessee Baptists’ finest hours as we respond to help each other as well as other victims affected by the tragic flooding,” Davis said.

Tennessee Baptist disaster relief set up its feeding unit at Judson Baptist Church in Nashville May 6 and is preparing more than 12,000 meals a day. The American Red Cross distributes the food to flood victims not only in Nashville but in towns outside the city.

Additionally, the Hardeman County Baptist Association has set up its feeding unit at Buffalo Baptist Church in Hurricane Mills — 70 miles west of Nashville — preparing more than 6,000 meals a day, and a Shiloh Baptist Association feeding unit is preparing 2,000-plus meals a day at Poplar Heights Baptist Church in the West Tennessee city of Jackson.

Meanwhile, specially trained Southern Baptist flood recovery teams — often called “mud-out units” — are on the ground throughout the state helping clean out flooded homes. Also, Baptist flood recovery teams from Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and North Carolina are either on the ground or are on their way to assist in the effort.

David Acres, the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s disaster relief director, is working through volunteers and workers across the state to assess needs and send workers. Trained disaster relief volunteers, along with chaplains, are needed, Acres said.

Many volunteers were out helping flooded residents last week and over the weekend but “that will slow down when people go back to work and people go back to school,” Acres said.
Compiled by Michael Foust, assistant editor of Baptist Press. With reporting by the staff of the Baptist & Reflector, online www.tnbaptist.org/BRNews. Donate to Tennessee flood disaster relief at www.TnBaptist.org or by sending a check to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024, with the designation “TN Floods 2010” on the check. Learn ways to help in the Nashville area at www.nashvillebaptistassociation.org. Learn ways to help in the Clarksville area at www.cumberlandba.org. Flood victims may complete a form at www.TNBaptist.org to request assistance. Forms can be faxed to 615-371-2014 or scanned and e-mailed to [email protected].

    About the Author

  • Staff