West Virginia was hit with unprecedented flooding last week. According to the weather service, the amount of rain the mountainous state received in such a short amount of time is a very unusual event—one that takes place maybe once in 1,000 years. Twenty four people died, hundreds of homes were destroyed and President Obama declared it a major disaster.
The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) was quick to respond by offering aid as early as Saturday, even while the rain was still descending. The SBDR set up a command center in the Lewisburg, W.V., area, which is being staffed by volunteers from West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, according to the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) website. The 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.”
NAMB also sent a semi-truck filled with bottled water, disinfectant and flood buckets, filled with supplies to meet immediate flood recovery needs. A feeding unit serving those displaced by the flood is also being set up in Ronceverte, W.V., at First Baptist Church of Fairlea. This is in addition to two SBDR mobile feeding kitchens that rolled out Saturday to feed people in other areas.
Another unique piece of equipment the SBDR has at its disposal is “mud-out” trailers “loaded with pressure washers, disinfectant, buckets, shovels and other equipment needed to treat a home after it has been flooded.” These trailers are very helpful because, as the article on NAMB’s website explains, “One of the biggest threats to homeowners after a flood is the dangerous mold that starts growing in the home.”
Southern Baptists are known for taking quick action when disaster strikes. They 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.” In fact, the SBDR is “one of the three largest mobilizers of trained Disaster Relief volunteers in the United States,” rubbing shoulders with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
Let us continue to pray for this area that has been so heavily hit and faces a long road to recovery.