Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Begins Work in North Carolina and the Bahamas

Tom Hale of Apex, N.C. (left) and James Davis of Chapel Hill, N.C. (right) assess Hurricane Dorian damage to Randall Styron’s house on Cedar Island. North Carolina Baptists on Mission are at work in Cedar Island and the town of Atlantic, N.C., after the storm. Photo by Sam Porter/NAMB

As Hurricane Dorian moved along the East Coast, North Carolina officials hoped they had dodged a direct hit. Then, the storm made landfall in the Outer Banks at 8:35 Friday morning (Sept. 6).

The Outer Banks — a string of islands off the state’s main coast — experienced significant damage to homes and businesses days after Dorian struck the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) has begun feeding and setting up recovery sites in the Carolinas while Baptist Global Response (BGR) is working with Bahamian Baptists to distribute supplies such as food, water, blankets and hygiene kits as their leaders plan for a long-term recovery effort.

Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee, noted that “Southern Baptists have a long history of helping those in time of need. The quick response by Baptist Global Response, Send Relief [of the North American Mission Board] and our state Baptist disaster relief organizations as well as local churches to the devastation left by Hurricane Dorian is to be commended. We must continue to work together to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of those affected by Hurricane Dorian.”

BGR reported stories from survivors that underscored the ongoing severity in the Bahamas. The confirmed death toll stands at 50 and tens of thousands of residents have been displaced.

One man, BGR said in a statement, went out to help rescue others only to return and find that his wife had been killed as a result of the storm. Another woman rode out the hurricane by clinging to a rock, going days without food before making it to safety.

The search and recovery process has been ongoing in the Bahamas, even a week after the storm made landfall, and the death toll is expected to rise sharply. Volunteer relief teams will only be able to initiate their efforts when first responders declare towns and regions safe.

Some areas, such as Marsh Harbor on Abaco Island, were “completely destroyed,” BGR CEO Jeff Palmer said. “The city and area were so devastated that people have evacuated because there is nothing there for them.”

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Source: Baptist Press