MBC Disaster Relief teams provide aid in Alabama
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dennis
By Brian Koonce
August 9, 2005
ATMORE, Ala. – In the wake of Hurricane Dennis, victims in Alabama had an immediate need for hot food and clean water. What do the thousands of volunteers and disaster relief workers need? A hot shower.
That’s just what the Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief Shower Unit from Jefferson Baptist Association (JBA) in Mapaville provided. From July 11 to July 30, the team provided 559 showers and did hundreds of loads of laundry for workers – often fellow Baptist disaster relief volunteers – in Atmore and Tipton near the Florida-Alabama border.
The unit has three showers, each with its own changing room and a propane heater to heat the water and dryer. JBA has trained more than 40 people to man the unit, although they rotate two- to three-person teams every six days.
Another Missouri unit, a chainsaw team out of Spring River Association in Joplin left July 31 for Alabama to help clear debris.
More than 1,600 Southern Baptist volunteers from Missouri, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Tennessee served more than 60,000 meals and completed 250 clean-up jobs in Alabama and Florida in the wake of Hurricane Dennis. Although some recovery work is still being completed, most of the units have been deactivated and returned home.
State Baptist conventions have trained more than 24,000 volunteers to respond to national disasters, often in cooperation with the American Red Cross. Trained volunteers affiliate with task-specific disaster relief units operated by state conventions. Responsibilities include food preparation, cleanup and recovery, repair and rebuild, communications, crisis counseling, water purification, and shower units.
The Missouri Baptist Convention will be hosting Southeast Missouri Disaster Relief Training Oct. 7-8 at Braggadocio Baptist Church. Organizers will offer courses in chainsaw, being a chaplain and food distribution. For more information call John Rhodes, Southeast Missouri regional coordinator at 573-833-6894 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dennis, a fast-moving Category 3 hurricane packing 120 mph winds, hit the Florida panhandle and Alabama coast July 10 with less force than predicted. While the area was spared the widespread destruction of Ivan, it caused power outages for more than 500,000 residents in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. Scattered flooding was reported throughout the region. President Bush has declared 38 counties in Mississippi and 45 counties in Alabama federal disaster areas.