NRB member organizations are aiding and ministering to the victims of this month’s catastrophic flooding in Louisiana, which has been declared the worst natural disaster to strike the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Unprecedented rainfall swamped a large swath of the Gulf Coast earlier this month. Especially hard hit were southern Mississippi and southcentral Louisiana, where more than 60,000 homes have been damaged, more than 8,400 people are in emergency shelters, and more than 100,000 people have applied for federal assistance.
“A truckload of food, water, cleaning supplies, and hygiene kits has already been delivered and is being distributed,” reported Hal Donaldson, President and Co-Founder of Convoy of Hope, in an August 15 press release, noting that an additional two loads of relief supplies were expected to arrive in the affected areas later that day.
According to Donaldson, once the Disaster Services team meets immediate needs, they will shift into helping families remove debris and clean their homes.
“As with all disasters we respond to, we plan to help families get back on their feet,” Donaldson added. “Sometimes that can take weeks, months, or even years.”
Samaritan’s Purse, which is also on site, reported that more than 100 volunteers – almost half of them first-timers – have already put in many hours clearing debris and salvaging valuables from homes throughout the Baton Rouge area, which officials have described as “Katrina-like,” referring to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
Presently, Samaritan’s Purse has set up a base of operation in Greenwell Springs Baptist Church to serve the East Baton Rouge Parish and surrounding areas.
“Samaritan’s Purse was like the cavalry coming over the horizon as they were coming into our community. They are making a huge difference in this community,” reported Tony Perkins, Greenwell Springs Baptist Church’s Interim Pastor and President of the Family Research Council.
“We are very grateful for Samaritan’s Purse which arrived at our church within 48 hours of my call for assistance to begin helping the members of this community,” he added in a press release. “Please join us in prayer that God would use the Church to minister to this community in a powerful way,”
On Tuesday, Samaritan’s Purse said it received 840 work orders in the Baton Rouge area, with more expected in the coming days and weeks. In addition to their work around there, the ministry also has a base in Lafayette.
Although the ministry reported that more than 250 volunteers have answered the call to assist the residents of Louisiana, it said many more are needed to help during the long cleanup ahead.
Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, who made a stop in East Baton Rouge Parish last Friday to encourage homeowners affected by the flooding, said the recovery is going to take months.
“This whole area went under seven feet of water,” he noted in a ministry report. “Samaritan’s Purse is here helping. We need your help; we need volunteers. Please come to Louisiana.”
Among those partnering with Samaritan’s Purse is Liberty University’s disaster relief program, LU Send, which sent a team of 10 students and three staff members to Baton Rouge to aid in flood relief efforts. The team deployed last Saturday and will return to campus this Saturday. Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team were also sent to Louisiana to minister to those who have been displaced by the unprecedented flooding.
“This area has endured many hardships this year,” said Jack Munday, International Director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, in a press release. “We have seen this community come together when faced with tragedy in the past months. Our hope is that we can provide emotional and spiritual care to promote unity, peace, and healing during their time of need.”
To donate to the disaster relief fund of an NRB member currently serving in Louisiana, click on the respective link below:
PHOTO ABOVE: Bruce Simmons (black shirt), a sergeant with the Baton Rouge Sheriff’s department, talks with a Billy Graham Rapid Response chaplain (blue shirt) while his wife, Pamela, hugs a Samaritan’s Purse volunteer (orange shirt). Photograph courtesy of Samaritan's Purse.
By NRB Staff
Published: August 25, 2016