Eastern Kentucky is in a state of emergency.
With some locations receiving more than 7.5 inches of rain in less than 24 hours last week, the entire state is experiencing historic levels of widespread flooding. Most citizens have never seen a weather phenomenon like this in their lives, and reports of nursing home evacuations, mass power outages and submerged vehicles continue to arise as relief efforts are ongoing.
“Hundreds and hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed in eight heavily impacted areas across the mountains of eastern Kentucky. This flooding is comparable to the 1957 floods that many claim to be the worst in Kentucky’s history,” said Send Relief Crisis Response Director Coy Webb. “The need is great, and it opens the door for us to reach out with the compassion of Christ and the hope of the gospel. Send Relief is working with our valued SBDR partners to meet needs and change lives during this tragedy.”
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) teams from Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri and Alabama are coming together to provide flood recovery, shower and laundry units, water purification and feeding units to the communities most devastated. Currently, feeding units are supplying about 3,000 meals a day, but many communities are still in great need of emergency food rations—especially those still under a “boil order” due to water contamination.
“No one could have planned for this, and people are hurting,” said Kentucky’s SBDR Director Ron Crow. “The important question to ask in this situation is ‘What can I give of myself to those who have just lost everything?’ We can all participate in some way, whether it’s with your time or finances or prayer on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Many hands make little work.”
Send Relief was able to send mold remediation products along with nearly 150 flood recovery buckets—which include essential cleaning materials such as industrial sponges, rubber gloves, N-95 masks and more—and several cases of Bibles to be used during SBDR’s response.
“The local pastor who received the Bibles was hugely encouraged by Send Relief’s provision, as he had been looking for ways to do outreach for flood victims, and our disaster response teams are taking the buckets to the families who are in the most dire need,” said Crow. “We so appreciate Send Relief and all they do to help states recover—it makes a difference.”
One SBDR volunteer helping a family rebuild their home requested extra volunteer assistance but, unfortunately, the need throughout eastern Kentucky is so great that none were available on the day he needed help with construction. After calling Crow and praying for a miracle together over the phone, he turned the corner to the house and discovered seven local church volunteers ready to help tackle the day’s tasks. As a result, not only did this homeowner have his house safely restored, but he also was able to hear the gospel and get connected with a local church body.
“Everybody is stepping up and helping one another,” Crow said. “Locals are being a great help to disaster agencies, and all the support from surrounding areas has been incredibly helpful. Do continue to pray for the safety of both the residents and the volunteers serving. We are reaching out to survivors to establish what greatest needs are, but they need your prayers for these costly rebuilds, as many don’t have insurance. You can also give—it takes a lot of funds to conduct relief efforts on this scale, and volunteers are always welcome. Prayers for me as a leader are also appreciated, as I am new to this role and state convention.”
Pray for SBDR teams as they respond and, if you would like to volunteer to help flood victims in Kentucky recover, email DR@KYBaptist.org to get more information.