JACKSONVILLE–In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura striking the Gulf Coast, Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief (LBDR) has requested Florida Baptist Disaster Relief (FLDR) support their ongoing response with two shower/laundry units and at least two clean-up recovery units.
Florida’s state task force leaders have initiated a call out for both logistics support and available clean-up recovery teams, according to Delton Beall, FLDR state director.
They will join Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) teams from multiple states who are converged on the Gulf Coast to serve storm survivors, offering help, hope, and healing.
“It is anticipated this will be a lengthy response so the needs will be ongoing,” Beall said.
He asks that credentialed volunteers contact their local or regional leadership “as to your availability.”
Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday (Aug. 27), with winds in excess of 140 mph, making the hurricane one of the strongest storms ever to hit Louisiana.
Lake Charles endured the brunt of winds that reached 140 miles per hour. Louisiana Baptists will station some of their operations at Trinity Baptist Church in the heart of the town.
A Southern Baptist pastor, James Vernon Cart, Jr., who served First Baptist Church in Iota, La., died when a tree fell on his home as he slept that morning. He was among 19 deaths related to the storm.
“Some have said it looks like a hundred tornadoes landed in Lake Charles,” he said. “As we drove in with the truck from Send Relief, we had to dodge debris on the main road into the church.”
He estimates that 200,000 people are without water “who aren’t likely to get it back for weeks. That’s how badly the infrastructure was damaged during the storm. People are driving 40 miles just to get gas and minimal food.”
That devastated infrastructure, coupled with COVID-19 restrictions, has created numerous challenges for many relief organizations seeking to establish the much-needed response, but Southern Baptist relief volunteers are persevering, Porter added.
Beall requests that Florida Baptists “continue to earnestly pray for the survivors, and all those helping with recovery.”