COVINGTON, La. – Hurricane Isaac was much less fierce than Hurricane Katrina seven years prior, but bouncing back from the flooding and structure damage throughout the Gulf Coast – and especially Louisiana – is still a task that will take months, said Missouri Baptist Convention Disaster Relief (DR) Director, Dwain Carter.
At press time, 13 Missouri Baptist DR volunteers were in Louisiana assessing damage, manning a mobile shower unit. Carter is helping organize volunteers at the incident command center.
“[This week], we’re going to start sending out mud-out teams and chaplains,” Carter said.
The dramatic damage from Hurricane Katrina resulted from high winds and flying debris, but Isaac just brought rain, and lots of it. In some parts of New Orleans, the flooding is more severe than seven years ago and some streets sit five feet under water.
“There’s still water standing in homes in the western and southern parts of the New Orleans area,” Carter said. “In Katrina it was trees. This was 27 inches of rain in two days.”
Carter said there is little need for chain saw units. Instead the main need is feeding, child care, shower units and most of all mud-out. Plans called for Missouri workers to relieve the Missouri shower unit Sept. 15.
At press time, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief feeding operations were operating nine kitchens in Louisiana and Mississippi, with 83,500 hot meals prepared and delivered to Hurricane Isaac victims in the two days after the storm made landfall. Missouri feeding units were on standby to be deployed, but as of yet have not been called into service.
In addition to Missouri and Louisiana, volunteers from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and other state conventions are in Louisiana assessing damages, starting mud-out, “blue tarping” homes, providing child care for victims, providing shower and laundry services and generating power
Pray, give, go
Carter said Missouri Baptists can “pray, give and go.”
“Pray for the victims, obviously” he said. “But the biggest prayer request I have is praying against spiritual warfare. Pray for safety in travel and the volunteers as they do their work.”
Missouri Baptists and others who want to donate to the disaster relief operations can mail checks payable to the MBC at 400 E. High St., Jefferson City, MO 65101, with Disaster Relief in the memo line. Donations are also accepted online at www.mobaptist.org/mbcdr.
In almost all cases, volunteers need to be trained to work with DR. There are three remaining dates for DR training this year: Sept. 21-22 in Mansfield at First Baptist Church; Oct. 5-6 in St. Louis at Parkway Baptist Church; and Oct. 19-20 in Trenton at Tenth Street Baptist Church.
Go to www.mobaptist.org/mbcdr to register. Cost for first-time trainees is $40, and $20 to get retrained. Pre-registration is preferred, but not required.