The death toll in south Louisiana’s unprecedented flooding has risen to 11, and at least 40,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. In response, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) is deploying volunteers, equipment and resources to the affected area, including four kitchens in Baton Rouge, Hammond, Lafayette and Walker.
The American Red Cross has requested four kitchens which each have capacity of 10,000 meals per day. All four DR teams deploying have twice that capacity. Additional support is expected given the scope of the disaster and the long-term nature of the relief work to be accomplished.
“The spring floods in Louisiana this year affected 10,000 homes, and the response duration was 80-90 days,” said David Melber, vice president for Send Relief at the North American Mission Board (NAMB). “Currently we are estimating as many 50,000 affected homes and a much longer response.”
The four kitchens will be staffed by SBDR volunteers from Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Alabama SBDR, like many states, is preparing for the response and will be sending volunteers and at least one shower unit.
“We have multiple states getting mobilized at this point,” Melber said. “The four key meal preparation areas will be located at Baptist churches, including Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Woodlawn Park Baptist Church in Hammond, [The] Bayou Church in Lafayette and Walker Baptist Church in Walker. Additionally, we have 16 other Baptist churches set up as defined worksites.”
First Baptist Church in Livingston will host the Incident Command Center. Louisiana Baptist Convention state SBDR director Gibbie McMillan is directing the state’s response. Arkansas SBDR is providing an Incident Command team to help coordinate relief efforts.
“Eddie Blackmon from NAMB’s SBDR team is already at the American Red Cross headquarters in Baton Rouge,” said Mickey Caison, executive director for SBDR at NAMB. “There were reports of 280 road closures and some recues still occurring yesterday. This is going to be a long-term response, and the water has yet to recede.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press