Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Says More Volunteers Are Needed to Continue Work After Historic Midwest Flooding

Pacific Junction, Iowa, located 25 miles south of Omaha, Neb., is among the many Mississippi River communities hit hard by this spring’s flooding. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leaders say more volunteers are needed before summer heat brings more complications. Photo by Nick Burt/Arkansas Baptist State Convention

Amid continued historic flooding in the Midwest, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are working their way through more than 1,400 mud-out requests for homes devastated during the disaster.

The timing is critical to saving homes in the impacted region, said Sam Porter, national director for SBDR at the North American Mission Board.

With tornado season looming and increased volunteer needs anticipated nationwide, SBDR leaders are asking Southern Baptists to consider opportunities to aid flood relief efforts in Nebraska and Iowa.

Volunteers are needed “even if they’re not a part of SBDR, — if a church has an organized group or they have some leadership that was a part of disaster relief,” Porter said. Survivors in Nebraska and Iowa as well as Kansas “would welcome them to go up and help us mud-out and clean the homes.”

“When it warms, the homes will be consumed by mold, and they’ll have to destroy the whole house. It’s really urgent to get in and take all of that out of there as soon as we can,” Porter said.

The devastating floods started in late March after heavy rain and melting snow led to floodwaters 10-feet high in places. Flood conditions continued throughout April. The Mississippi River has been above major flood stage around Davenport, Iowa, for a record 39 days this spring, according to The New York Times.

Farmers have been hit particularly hard by the flooding. In March alone, more than 1 million acres of cropland were ravaged by floods, according to a Reuters report.

Southern Baptists responded immediately to the flooding, with Porter estimating that Southern Baptists representing a dozen states have participated in the recovery efforts. SBDR needs a strong push in the next four weeks to complete as many of the remaining jobs as possible before summer hits, he noted.

“The Cooperative Program for Southern Baptists is about more than just money,” said Porter, who served for 19 years as Oklahoma Baptists’ director of disaster relief before becoming SBDR’s national director. “It’s manifested probably the best in Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, where we go to help each other and will stay as long as we’re needed, even when we’re hurting in our own states.”

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Source: Baptist Press