SBTC DR crews mobilizing to help Kentucky tornado survivors

Kentucky National Guard responds to tornado
Kentucky National Guardsmen engage in a search and rescue mission March 3, in West Liberty, Ky., for survivors after torrential storms and violent winds destroyed much of the community there March 2. Photo by Spc. David Bolton, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Kentucky National Guard.

PRINCETON, Ky.—Western Kentucky suffered the brunt of the EF3 tornado which pummeled four states Dec. 10, killing at least 88 people. Most victims were from the Bluegrass State, where 74 died, including eight workers at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in Mayfield, a town of 10,000, CBS News reported.

The deadly tornado may have been the longest single-twister storm in U.S. history once the National Weather Service completes its analysis, the Independent reported on Yahoo News.

As soon as news of the devastation emerged, Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief crews went on “high alert” status, joining other Southern Baptist DR teams in preparing to be called out and assigned to specific areas.

Southern Baptist disaster relief efforts follow established procedures designed to maximize the use of resources and avoid duplication of efforts, Daniel White, SBTC DR associate, explained.

“We also have to be very concerned about logistics when deploying, making sure our teams have food, water, electricity, and places to sleep. We cannot send them to the field without adequate preparation,” White said.

Kentucky authorities are still doing search and rescue, White added. “We can’t go in while they are still looking for victims and survivors. There are areas where people are still unaccounted for.”

SBTC DR Director Scottie Stice confirmed that he and his staff have been in constant communication with national Southern Baptist DR and appropriate Baptist state DR heads, as is usual during disasters.

When the call-out came for SBTC DR, it was different than expected. Instead of the deployment of large numbers of recovery teams, White said that so far site command has asked for smaller groups to work in Western Kentucky after Christmas and after New Year’s Day.

Volunteers will include both recovery workers to help survivors sift through the damage to find belongings lost in the storm and chaplains to help them spiritually.

“Chaplains will help survivors process the trauma and minister to their emotional and spiritual needs, while sharing the hope of Christ,” White said.

SBTC DR is preparing to deploy two teams to the Princeton area in the coming weeks, White said.

Those who would like to donate to recovery efforts related to the tornado can do so through a link provided on the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention website.

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