Story updated at 3:40 p.m., Sept. 1
By Baptist and Reflector
MOUNT JULIET — The initial Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey will be assigned to North Houston, Texas, according to the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s Disaster Relief Specialist Wes Jones.
The Baptist and Reflector previously reported that the DR teams were headed to Sugarland and Dallas. But variables in Texas created the need for the Tennessee DR teams to be sent to North Houston instead.
Disaster relief teams have been on standby waiting for damage assessment to be completed so that Baptist state DR teams responding to the disaster can be strategically assigned. Through Wednesday, Texas officials said that the focus had been on search and rescue, and placing survivors in shelters. They were asking relief units from other states, including the Tennessee Baptist DR teams, to remain in place. However, crews have now been cleared to head southwest next week.
Members of the DR teams will be arriving in Houston as early as Sunday, and Jones is calling on Baptists across the state to pray for the volunteers who are involved in the efforts.
“My prayer is that God will use this endeavor to build relationships and reach people for Christ,” Jones said.
Jones said the Tennessee DR team has received a high volume of calls from those seeking training in order to be equipped to aid the relief process when the call comes.
Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, is calling for Baptists to respond to the relief efforts with prayer, mobility and giving.
“This disaster is a disaster that eclipses so much of what we have known in our lifetime,” said Davis. “It’s going to take all of us, not just in Tennessee but across our nation, to respond as only believers in Christ can respond — with care, compassion and excellence.”
Earlier this week, during a conference call on Aug. 28, DR leaders were informed that many roads in Texas were not yet passable.
Across Texas, families are searching tirelessly for missing relatives on the sixth day since the catastrophic storm made its first landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, CNN reported.
At least 37 deaths related to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath have been reported in Texas.
Emergency workers and throngs of volunteers went door to door in Houston on Wednesday, trying to rescue victims of the flood. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said authorities have received 60,000 to 70,000 calls for help.
The unrelenting storm, now classified as Tropical Depression Harvey, continues to devour cities in Texas, CNN reported on Thursday. It has unleashed its wrath on a wide swath east of Houston, leaving thousands stranded in flooded homes and forcing the evacuation of a nursing facility and even an emergency shelter where residents had sought refuge.
For updates on the storm and relief efforts, visit the Baptist and Reflector site. If you would like to donate to the response effort, visit https://tndisasterrelief.org/contributions/ or mail a check to TBMB DR, PO Box 682789, Franklin, Tenn., 37068. Write “Harvey Relief” in the memo line.