SBC Life Articles

A Deluge of SBC Compassion in Iowa

Volunteers were mobilized from five Southern Baptist churches on Thursday, August 12, to assist with water distribution in the city of Ames, Iowa. Flooding caused major disruption in the city that has a population of about fifty thousand and is home of Iowa State University. Streets and businesses were flooded and a mobile home park was submerged along Duff Avenue, in the south part of the city. Athletic facilities on the campus of Iowa State University were flooded, including the basketball stadium. The water system was polluted by flood waters after several key water mains broke during street flooding. Most of the city was under a boil order, indicating that water is not safe for drinking or bathing unless it is boiled.

Supplies of bottled water available at retailers became scarce almost immediately as the boil order went into effect.

Local emergency officials arranged for five water distribution points throughout the city and each person was given one gallon of water.

Baptist Convention of Iowa officials worked with the City of Ames to arrange for volunteers from Ames area Southern Baptist churches to help provide some relief for those city officials and employees who were staffing the water distribution sites.

Roads were closed in several areas of the town, making travel difficult. Interstate 35 was closed south of Ames, between the city and Des Moines, thirty miles away.

After the flood waters receded, Ty Berry, Iowa Disaster Relief director, asked for help from all Southern Baptists.

On Tuesday, August 24, Terry Henderson, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief operations consultant, arrived in Des Moines along with the rest of the Incident Command staff. They were there to assist Berry with the coordination of disaster relief teams. A "call center" was then opened at the North American Mission Board offices in Alpharetta, Georgia. Soon after, Iowa residents were calling, asking for Southern Baptist teams to help remove mud and debris or pump out the water from their homes.

By September 7, two dozen Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were in Des Moines and surrounding Iowa communities for "mud-out" recovery work following the flooding.

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.

Disaster Relief teams of volunteers from Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky arrived to assist with clean-up in the most affected areas.


    About the Author

  • Richard Nations