By Message Staff
ALEXANDRIA – After days of watching the impact of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and anticipating it to landfall as a tropical storm in Louisiana, John Hebert, missions and ministry team director for Louisiana Baptists, said that a timetable for deploying the state’s disaster relief volunteers and mobile units is ready and will be publicized soon.
Sixty-two Texas counties have been declared disaster areas, and initial reports indicate Southern Baptist congregations in these places have been hit particularly hard. Greg Teffertiller, a marketing director with the North American Mission Board, tweeted Wednesday morning that 746 of the denomination’s churches were flooded.
HOW TO HELP
“The last few days have been filled with anxiety and anticipation due to the storm we’ve been — and are still going — through,” Hebert wrote in an e-mail to Louisiana Baptist directors of missions Wednesday. “We have been assessing situations both in Texas and here in Louisiana. Many of you have already begun to make plans about your responses and I know there are individuals in your associations that are ready to go help our friends in Texas now. We will get our chance to help very soon.”
Until teams are activated, Hebert suggested Louisiana Baptists should pray for those impacted by the storm and collect a love offering in their churches. Meanwhile, he urged anyone wishing to donate money to aid victims of the hurricane to visit the Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief website, lousianabaptists.org/donateDR.
“We will use that money to help those affected by Harvey,” Hebert said.
In addition to financial gifts, churches also are encouraged to collect supplies for disaster relief teams to use in mud-out operations. A list can be found at the Lousiana Baptists website.
Those who have yet to be trained to serve on a disaster relief team can do so by visiting the disaster relief website.
“Thank you all for keeping our churches informed and united in our effort to help those who have so unselfishly come to our aid on more than just a couple of occasions,” Hebert wrote. “May God bless you and the people of South Texas.”
HARVEY’S LANDFALL, RAINFALL
After first making landfall over the Yucatan Peninsula and then again along the Texas Coast, Harvey made a third landfall Wednesday morning 5 miles west of Cameron with maximum sustained winds of 45 m.p.h.
Harvey is responsible for at least 22 deaths, thousands of rescues, considerable damage to homes and business and record rainfall that reached 52 inches in some areas of Texas.
With a number of shelters in Texas stretched beyond capacity, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards offered to take in some of the evacuees, a gesture that was offered by the Lone Star State during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported more than 30,000 people in Texas were in more than 230 shelters Wednesday morning.
While Texas has dealt with its share of flooding, the rising waters in Louisiana resulted in Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies rescuing residents in Iowa on Tuesday and Sulphur on Wednesday. Numerous roads also were closed due to high water.
A storm surge warning continues from Holly Beach to Morgan City and a storm surge watch from Sabine Pass, Texas, to west of Holly Beach. A tropical storm warning continues from east of High Island, Texas, to Grand Isle and is likely to persist through this afternoon. Tornadoes also are possible today and tonight over parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, southern Alabama and southeast Arkansas.
The National Weather Service expects Harvey to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches from southwestern Louisiana and the adjacent border of eastern Texas northeastward into western Tennessee and Kentucky through Friday with isolated amounts of up to 10 inches. The threat of heavy rains has ended in the Houston/ Galveston area, the National Weather Service said.