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Winter storm underscores disaster preparedness

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — Winter storm Juno hit areas of the Northeast Monday and Tuesday (Jan. 26-27) and continues to bring moderate to heavy snow in some areas. Although its impact is less than originally predicted, by noon Tuesday Juno had left parts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island with one to two or more feet of snow.

Wind gusts reached 30 mph Tuesday night in Boston and topped 70 mph in eastern Massachusetts. Coastal flooding has forced roads in some areas to close completely, and several states either closed roads or imposed a limited travel ban. An estimated 36,000 customers are without power in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Moderate coastal flooding is expected to continue today (Jan. 27).

Fritz Wilson, executive director for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief with the North American Mission Board, warned that “it is easy to take an attitude of complacency and not take preparedness with seriousness” since New York and other areas weren’t hit as hard as initially feared.

While trained SBDR volunteers could be deployed for such a natural disaster if needed, Wilson said blizzards are an example of the kind of event individuals and churches can prepare for in advance.

“Our Ready Church initiative is about being prepared for all disasters. The reason for churches and Christians to be prepared is that when we are prepared, we can better cope with the situation and minister to our neighbors,” Wilson said. Churches can connect with a local SBDR director to learn more about how to be prepared when a storm, or any kind of disaster, hits close to home.

SBDR leaders want to enable churches to prepare, connect and respond within their local context while, through the disaster relief network nationally and internationally, Southern Baptists are able to respond with full support to crises of all sizes. Ready Church empowers people to best connect with their community in these times of need to spread the Gospel.

Those wishing to donate to SBDR relief can contact the Baptist convention in their state or visit https://donations.namb.net/dr-donations. For phone donations, call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”

NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state disaster relief ministries.

Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers — including chaplains — and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, child care, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained disaster relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

    About the Author

  • Meredith Yackel