JACKSON, Miss. (WKRG) – While hurricane season has been historically quiet this August, Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief (MBDR) has stayed busy in the region.
The organization is beginning work in the state capital just days after a team of volunteers returned from deployment where flooding completely destroyed some eastern Kentucky communities in late July.
10.5 inches of rain fell over 12 counties in the course of three to four hours, causing water to rise up to depths of 20 feet and move downhill at speeds up to 100 miles per hour.
“Where our floods are slow to rise, stay around for a while, and then slow to fall, these mountain floods all depend on where the rain falls and how fast,” disaster relief representative Hubert Yates told The Baptist Record on Aug. 15.
At least 39 were killed. Hundreds of homes were destroyed while thousands lived without power for over a week. When MBDR volunteers arrived Aug. 10, up to four inches of mud and sludge covered many areas. Local water systems remained out of operation near their staging site in Hazard, Ky.
“Mudout teams will be assisting homeowners with recovering salvageable items from their homes; cleaning mud, debris, and damaged materials from affected homes; and removing damaged building/structural materials in anticipation of repairs,” said Yates.
15 MBDR volunteers were on the initial team to provide incident management, food service, damage assessment and post-disaster chaplaincy. Additional assessor/chaplain and clean-up teams were deployed the following week, along with three more volunteers to support shower and laundry operations.
MBDR’s site closed Saturday, Aug. 27 after four weeks of operation. Mudout teams from across the southern Baptist convention are still being scheduled through September to assist with ongoing cleanup.
The organization’s focus now turns to supporting local churches in distributing water to Jackson residents. Most of the 163,000 residents in the state’s largest city are without running water after flooding from the Pearl River caused the city’s long-neglected main water treatment plan to fail.
Local ministries will focus attention on delivering water to the elderly, infirm, homebound and their own members who may not have access to water distribution sites across the city.
MBDR is seeking to obtain only bulk, palletized bottled water for use in the distribution system to supplement other distributions organized by the local and state governments.