From the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Update Email. When we had our tornado in Camilla, the Baptist Feeding Station was a powerful and amazing service that was one of the first on the ground. No questions asked, take care of needs, and get down to business. They represent what is good in disaster relief and I am very proud of their work.
I get these updates from the Southern Baptist disaster relief agencies. If you want to help, my two FAVORITE disaster relief organizations are the SBC and the Salvation Army just from personal experience.
Disaster Relief Update – Thursday, September 11, 2008
With recovery work still going non-stop in Louisiana post- Hurricane Gustav, Southern Baptist disaster relief workers now shift their attention to Texas, where Hurricane Ike is predicted to cut a swath between Port Lavaca and Bay City, Texas early Saturday morning.
Port Lavaca is 80 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, while Bay City is 70 miles southwest of Houston.
Chugging along toward the west-northwest with maximum winds at 100 mph, Ike is predicted to strengthen considerably before Saturday, when it could slam the Texas coast as a deadly Category 3 or 4 hurricane, according to weather forecasts.
FEMA representatives said Ike could produce a storm surge somewhere between 14 and 22 feet – possibly as high as 27 feet if Ike takes a more northerly path as it appears to be. Houston could experience winds between 80-110 mph with gusts up to 120 mph. Officials said some 3.5 million Texans could be without power as a result of the storm.
FEMA has compared Ike to a Category 3 hurricane that struck the Texas coast in 1983, killing 23, injuring 3,100 and causing $2 billion in damages.
Feeding – up to 80,000 meals a day — is already under way at evacuation sites in San Antonio (Kelly Air Force Base and Brookhill Baptist Church), Laredo, and the Bryan/College Station areas.
The American Red Cross has requested Southern Baptists to provide a total of 500,000 meals per day, while The Salvation Army has requested another 70,000 meals.
Eleven feeding units already have been activated for Texas, including units from Arkansas, California, Florida, North Carolina, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Virginia Baptist Mission Board. Even more feeding units will be put on alert or standby following Ike’s landfall.
Still serving in the wake of Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana are 18 feeding units, 11 shower units, five communications/command centers, six laundry units and 50 recovery teams.
Since Gustav made landfall in Louisiana on Labor Day, Southern Baptist volunteers have prepared almost 770,000 meals; completed 275 chainsaw jobs; provided 7,903 showers and 1,138 loads of laundry; made 9,122 ministry contacts; and recorded 72 Gospel presentations and 75 professions of faith, according to statistics kept by NAMB’s disaster operations center.
Texas and Louisiana are not the only locations where Southern Baptists are staffing up for disaster relief.
Under the SBC’s Baptist Global Response (BGR), an SBC disaster assessment team will travel to Cuba the week of Sept. 15 to consult with local Baptist partners about relief efforts needed there after both Hurricanes Gustav and Ike struck that nation earlier.
Gustav struck western Cuba on Aug. 31, with maximum winds reaching 200 miles an hour. News reports said 130,000 homes were damaged and crops were wiped out – even before Ike followed on Sept. 8.
Southern Baptist relief funds have been released – with the permission of the U.S. Treasury Department – to purchase food and re-building supplies, and to help with clean up in Cuba, according to Jim Brown, U.S. director for BGR, a Southern Baptist international relief and development organization.
Southern Baptists on the assessment team will work with representatives of the Cuban Baptist Convention to evaluate what additional relief efforts are needed and to conduct training for local disaster relief volunteers, Brown said.
National Disaster Relief Leadership
- Terry Henderson, National Disaster Relief Director
- Mickey Caison, Disaster Operation Center Manager
To contact the Disaster Operations Center, call 1 888 462-8657 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org“