A Plea for Prayers in US South
By Christy Smith*
May 4, 2010—Tennessee and neighboring states have been hard hit by devastating floods resulting from a major weather event that moved slowly across the southern states.
There have been several deaths and record-breaking floodwaters in the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences. According to news reports, a total of 24 people have died as a result of heavy rains that have pelted this state, Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia since the weekend.
“Our prayers go out for all those who are affected by these historic storms,” said United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) executive Rev. Cynthia Harvey. “I’m confident that United Methodists will respond to relief needs in the US South with characteristic compassion and generosity.”
Here in Tennessee, given the vast geographic area impacted, accurate numbers of those left homeless are not available, but dozens of families in the western part of the state and hundreds in the Nashville area remain in shelters.
“We continue to assess the situation, organize leaders, and prepare the way for more and more opportunities for people to respond. Please be patient and pray, even as further damage continues,” said Rev. Jason Brock, disaster response coordinator for the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Floodwaters in some areas are expected to exceed levels reached in flooding during the 1930s, before levees and flood mitigation measures were built.
"Tennessee is known as the "volunteer state" and UMCOR-trained volunteers are reaching out with cleaning buckets, supplies and support to the vast number of residents who are still out of their homes,” said UMCOR executive Rev. Tom Hazelwood.
“It will be a long recovery across the vast area of flooding,” he added. “UMCOR staff and consultants are supporting not only the Tennessee volunteers, but also in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and other places across the Southeast Jurisdiction. Our prayers undergird the survivors and those who help."
Rev. Brock said that 200 cleaning buckets and 1,100 health kits already had been distributed, but estimated that more than 2,000 flood buckets would be needed in Tennessee alone.
Please pray for those people who have experienced losses as the spring storm season hits. To help provide cleaning buckets, click here. And please give generously to US Domestic Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670.
*Christy Smith is an UMCOR Disaster Consultant. Additional reporting for this story was provided by Linda Unger, UMCOR staff writer.