Record-Breaking Tornado Season Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
- The average number of tornadoes in South Carolina for a year is 25.
- This year there were 42 in the first five months.
- Usually there are only three tornadoes per year that are stronger than an EF-1.
- This year there have been 15 above EF-1, including an EF-4.
Our chainsaw units were kept very busy across the state responding to all those tornadoes and other storms. Many units served in their own area, then turned to help those in harder-hit places.
One of the challenges was that all this was going on while the state was “shut down” due to the covid-19 pandemic. Some volunteers were not able to serve because health conditions or their age put them in the high-risk category. Others served wearing face masks or coverings and keeping their distance, as much as practical, from others.
The Lord was gracious to provide protection – we are not aware of any cases of covid-19 among our volunteers due to their deployments.
In addition to responding to the tornadoes, SC Baptist Disaster Relief also responded to the pandemic itself. Shower units were deployed to serve the homeless in Anderson and Florence, providing for better hygiene to help prevent spread of the virus in that vulnerable population. One unit continues to serve in Anderson even now.
In the early days of the pandemic when such supplies were so very scarce, we were able to donate thousands of N-95 masks and other personal protective equipment to hospitals, other medical facilities, and first responders. Those items came from the supplies we had in place for mud-out units. Many of you were a part of that as you took items from your unit to fill local needs.
Additionally, individuals or small groups of volunteers served in local food banks or pantries, prepared and delivered bag lunches, re-stocked “giving boxes” and gave local help in many ways. Others prayed faithfully, or donated funds to assist.
We are grateful to God for each DR volunteer that served, doing their part to bring help, hope, and healing through tornado, storm, and pandemic!