Editor’s Note: This article has been updated and replaces the article posted on Sept. 29.
MOUNT JULIET —
MOUNT JULIET — Tennessee Baptist and Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were reassigned Oct. 2 to set up operations at First Baptist Church in Wauchula, Fla., in response to Hurricane Ian. The teams originally were assigned to Sarasota, Fla.
Hurricane Ian swept across Florida Sept. 29, wreaking havoc across the state. As of Oct. 2, reports indicated at least 87 people have died (83 in Florida and four in North Carolina) but the number is expected to increase. USA Today reported more than 2.6 million homes and businesses were without electricity when the hurricane first hit land.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the story caused a “500-year flooding event in the state” and that the damage caused is “historic,” USA Today reported.
Ian also caused extensive damage along the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina on Sept. 30.
Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, said Kentucky volunteers are providing the feeding unit while Tennessee DR is providing the incident command and recovery teams (chainsaw, flood recovery, accessors, chaplains, tarping and shower and laundry units). John and Kaye Thomas of First Baptist Church, Sevierville, will head the operations.
The feeding unit is expected to provide 25,000 meals a day, Jones said, adding that Tennessee feeding volunteers are needed to serve on the feeding unit.
Jones asked for Tennessee volunteers to respond if possible. “This is a major storm that has left a trail of death and destruction across Florida. We will need teams for the long haul,” he stressed.
Volunteers on the first teams into the affected areas must be credentialed DR volunteers, he said. Jones also asked that teams do not self-deploy. Jones also noted security teams of three to four people are needed to provide security at the site on a 24/7 basis. Volunteers for this team, coordinated by Chuck Thacker, must be trained in security, Jones said. If interested in serving on the security team, call Thacker at 615-390-1052.
A water rescue team from North Carolina and Tennessee reported t Lake Yale, Fla., to be used as needed, Baptist Press reported. Jones said the team has now returned home.
He exhorted Tennessee Baptists to pray for those in Florida and other states who have been impacted by Ian and will continue to be impacted in the days ahead. “Pray that God will wrap His arms around those affected to comfort them and that those who do not know Christ will come to know Him,” he said. Jones also asked for prayers of safety for teams as they travel and work in some difficult situations,
Teams interested in going should contact Jones at email@example.com; Elizabeth Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org; and email@example.com. He asked teams to send the email to all three e-mail addresses.
Individuals interested in donating to disaster relief can visit tndisasterrelief.org/contributions and click on 2022 Hurricanes.
— The Baptist and Reflector will continue to monitor the situation and release new articles as needed.