N.C. Baptists respond to wind, floods from Irene
    August 29 2011 by BSC Communications

    North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) staff and volunteers were already mapping out a plan of action less than 24 hours after Hurricane Irene came ashore North Carolina’s coast. The Category 1 storm pounded the state’s coast with rain and wind most of the day Saturday, leaving thousands of North Carolinians still without power.

    Some parts of the state fared better than expected, such as Oak Island, where the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell sits. No damage was reported there.

    Richard Brunson, NCBM executive director-treasurer, said the hardest hit areas in the state appear to be near Pamlico Sound, Carteret County and the Outer Banks. Trained NCBM assessors have been on the ground since Sunday night and early today surveying the damage and helping identify the greatest needs.

    “In any disaster, we try to find out where we are needed most, and we have to base that on good information. We rely on our assessors to help us make these decisions,” Brunson said. “Then, we find hubs where we can serve out of. Places where volunteers can eat and sleep, and then go out into surrounding communities to work.”

    As of Sunday afternoon, NCBM had identified three “hubs,” with the possibility of adding more. Brunson said sometimes the hardest hit areas lack good communication, so adding more feeding and recovery sites is certainly a possibility.

    NCBM will set up a feeding/recovery unit at First Baptist Church in New Bern; Memorial Baptist Church in Williamston; and Manteo Baptist Church. NCBM will set up its State Recovery Unit at The Memorial Baptist Church in Greenville. Those sites will be ready for feeding by­­ Monday morning.

    Volunteers serving with the recovery units will be helping with anything from mudouts to chainsaw work and removing trees and debris from homes.

    Interested volunteers should visit baptistsonmission.org. NCBM will contact them as soon as they are able to assess where they can be of most help.

    “It is too early at this point to know how long the feeding units will be needed,” Brunson said. “We expect at least a week. How soon people are able to get power back to their homes will play a large part in determining that. However, we expect the recovery process to be much longer.”

    Disaster relief teams from nearby states are ready to come and help if necessary.

    Brunson expects to feed about 5,000 meals per day at each of these sites. He said NCBM is also looking at doing satellite feeding in Buxton, part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. That relief effort may, depending on road damage and accessibility, involve using helicopters to bring in food. This plan, if needed, will be coordinated with Emergency Management and other NCBM partners.

    NCBM has also provided two sleeper units to the Air Wing Guard stationed in Kinston. They are doing aerial evaluations of the damage and helping assess the needs.

    “Thank you for your prayers,” Brunson said. “Although this storm had the potential to affect more people in more parts of our state, we still have many people who need help and who need volunteers to quickly respond. Please continue praying that we will be able to meet physical needs, and that as we do so, we can share the love of Christ."

    Brunson also expressed appreciation to all North Carolina Baptists who make NCBM disaster relief ministry possible. "The faithful giving of North Carolina Baptists to the North Carolina Missions Offering keeps this ministry going. We are thankful not only for your willingness to go and serve during disasters such as Irene, but for your sacrificial giving that makes it possible for us to respond in times of disaster."

    To donate to NCBM Hurricane Irene relief efforts, visit baptistsonmission.org.

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    8/29/2011 10:07:00 AM by BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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