Southern Baptists Already Issuing Aid in Caribbean After Hurricane Irma

Food and water shortages in the Caribbean are being relieved by Southern Baptist partners and disaster relief workers nearly a week after Hurricane Irma trampled islands and killed at least 38 people.

Baptist Global Response (BGR) is already distributing food in Cuba, where Irma hit 13 of the 15 provinces. The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to transport a feeding unit to Puerto Rico, BGR CEO Jeff Palmer told Baptist Press today (Sept. 12).

“Right now our team is on the ground in [San Juan] Puerto Rico,” Palmer said. “We also are releasing some resources … through our Baptist partners in Cuba; we’ve already done some food distributions in Cuba.”

The feeding unit from Alabama will serve the U.S. Virgin Islands and other impacted areas, NAMB said in today’s Send Relief bulletin.

Transportation to Puerto Rico is slow and hampered by hurricane damage and changing logistics, Palmer said. BGR representatives planned to meet today with Jorge Alvarez, president of the Convention of Southern Baptist Churches in Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands, to discuss islanders’ needs. About 60 churches in the territories cooperate with the convention.

BGR and NAMB have each donated an initial $50,000 to food relief in the Caribbean in response to Irma. Alabama disaster relief strategist Mark Wakefield is coordinating the transportation of the feeding unit, but details were not available today.

BGR will continue to prioritize food, clean water and shelter in its initial response in the Caribbean. NAMB is focusing primarily on disaster relief efforts stateside in response to both hurricanes Irma and Harvey, which hit within a two-week span.

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Source: Baptist Press