SBTC team leads way in Philippine disaster

MANILLA, Philippines?A Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief team that led the way for SBC volunteers responding to severe flooding in the Philippines returned after nearly two weeks of service there, with another SBTC team heading back in late October.

Typhoon Ketsana dumped a month’s worth of rain in 12 hours, Baptist Global Response reported, wreaking havoc in Manilla, a city of 12 million that sits below sea level.

In all, typhoons Ketsana and Parma affected 6 million Filipinos.

Twenty-nine Southern Baptist volunteers from the SBTC, Texas Baptist Men, Oklahoma and Kentucky traveled to Manilla.

“The SBTC team set up logistics for the other teams,” explained Jim Richardson, SBTC DR director. “Once again, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were on the front lines in quick fashion, aiding in practical and desperately-needed human needs amid crisis, sharing the love of Christ in deed and word.”

Beyond mud-out and clean-up work in homes and churches, Richardson said the SBTC team helped identify additional needs, assisted their Baptist field partners and trained native volunteers and churches in DR ministry.

Flooding often is followed by severe medical concerns and that is the case in Manila, noted Jim Brown, U.S. director for Baptist Global Response.

“News reports indicate the water is still waist-deep, even chest-deep in places,” Brown said in a BGR news release. “It has been standing for three weeks now. The longer water stagnates, the greater the risk of diseases like malaria, dengue fever, diarrhea?even typhoid.”

In addition to the Philippines disaster, the SBTC is also preparing to aid in flooding response to India, where the worst rains in 100 years forced 1.5 million people into relief camps.

As of Oct. 13, Southern Baptist DR teams during the year had served more than 260,000 meals, performed 596 mudout jobs, more than 6,000 chainsaw jobs, presented the gospel 698 times and seen 101 people profess saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Members of the SBTC team included Larry Shine of Onalaska; Paul Easter of Mount Pleasant; Billy Joe Jones of Lufkin; James Fuller of Lufkin; Jim Howard of Atlanta; and Doug Scott of Atlanta.

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