Update, 9/13/2020 - SCDR volunteers continue with Hurricane Laura recovery at the site in Leesville, LA. (New info since the 9/5 update is in Bold type.)
South Carolina was asked by Louisiana Disaster Relief to assist in the town of Leesville in west central LA due west of Alexandria. Hurricane Laura was at Category 2 strength as it moved through that area. With electricity, water service, sewer service, and improving communications at the host church, the conditions at our site are allowing us to move ahead with recovery work.
An Incident Management Team is coordinating the work. We've had two or three chainsaw units on site each week so far. Chaplains and assessors are also serving. We have cooks there to feed the volunteers. In addition, Alabama DR is partnering - they have sent chainsaw units, skid steers, two shower/laundry units, plus cooks to the site where our volunteers are housed. Florida DR is also sending chainsaw units. We even had the state DR Director from Alaska working at the site this week!
Last weekend Louisiana requested two additional laundry units for the area since many residents were still without elecricity. The Saluda Association/Shady Grove Baptist Church laundry unit was able to deploy within hours of receiving the request. They were set up at a different church than the rest of our units, to make it accessible to residents in a different area of the parish. An additional Alabama unit set up at yet another church, for more coverage of the area. It turned out that the need was not as great as anticipated, so the Shady Grove unit returned home after 6 days.
- For more DR volunteers and chainsaw units to sign up to serve. We hope to continue working at the site through Oct. 3.
- That volunteers will have many opportunities to share the hope of Jesus' love and salvation.
- That incoming Tropical Storm Sally will quickly dissipate without causing disruption of the travel plans for teams scheduled to go to Louisiana. One of our teams, originally scheduled to return home on Tuesday, is returning a day early to avoid driving through "Sally" rain & wind.
- For safety as our teams serve.
Your donations will enable SC Disaster Relief teams to provide help, hope, and healing to those who have suffered physical damage and emotional trauma from the storm. To donate, please CLICK HERE.
This is an active call-out for trained DR volunteers: Trained SCDR volunteers should check their calendars for their available dates over the next few weeks, and contact their Unit Leader about their availability. Unit Leaders should assemble a team and notify the SCBC Disaster Operations Center (DOC) of their available dates.
In "adopting" the area, we are running a command post, with the following DR ministry areas needed - assessment, incident command, chaplains, chainsaw, feeding (for volunteer teams only - not mass feeding), and laundry. There is tree and roof damage. With no flood damage, mud-out teams are not needed. Because of covid regulations, child care is not possible.
Covid-19 considerations: face covering and social distancing guidelines are followed as much as possible; however, because of the unique conditions created by the disaster, separation such as you may be able to achieve back home is often not possible. All volunteers have daily temperature checks. Housing of volunteers is more spaced-apart than usual. We are counting on the Lord's protection, which includes using the good sense He has given!
Travel/time: This is an 800-mile drive - teams are asked to give at least 7 days (4 days of work, 3 days of travel there and back) because of the distance. En route housing can be arranged so teams can split the trip into a-day-and-a-half each way. If you can give 8 days, even better - allowing 5 days of serving those in need.
This type of deployment is not for everyone. Please use good judgement as to your stamina and your covid-19 risk level when considering whether you can deploy. Anyone who is very nervous about coronavirus exposure should not deploy, as conditions in a disaster response are not always conducive to following the covid guidelines precisely. Also remember that we have not yet reached the peak of hurricane season, so there may be additional deployment needs in the near future.
Please check back here regularly for updated information.
SCBC DOC: email@example.com, 803-227-6149