Dozens of people in Hattiesburg, Mississippi have been treated for injuries after a tornado ripped through the town on Sunday, February 10. Governor Phil Bryant stated at a press conference on Monday that more than 200 homes were either damaged or destroyed. Read more here.
While not a first response organization, CBF Disaster Response Ministries is assessing the needs in the Hattiesburg area and will respond as needed. CBF national disaster personnel are also in contact with the staff of University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg.
At this time, CBF Disaster Response is not asking anyone to deploy but is accepting contributions for relief. Contributions will allow CBF Disaster Response Ministries to supply requested items and teams as needed. Contributions can be made online here.
Please be in prayer for the Hattiesburg community.
Below is an update from Tommy Deal, CBF U.S. Disaster Response Coordinator:
Yesterday, February 10, 2013 an EF-4 tornado ripped into Hattiesburg, Mississippi. While all disastrous events impact all of us, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship especially is impacted as one of its churches, University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, is only several blocks of most of the damage. University Baptist was instrumental in CBF’s early response after Hurricane Katrina.
Jim Kirkendall, CBF of Mississippi’s Disaster Response Coordinator, traveled to Hattiesburg Monday and met with Rusty Edwards, Pastor of UBC, and Associate Pastor Ashley Gill. The church sustained no damage, but power was still out. Only one church family’s house was destroyed and no one in the membership sustained injuries. Westminster Presbyterian Church near UBC was destroyed and they have already begun conversations how University Baptist Church can assist the Presbyterian Church.
Kirkendall reported that the City of Hattiesburg asked all volunteers to return home until power is turned back on. Power lines are still down and pose a very dangerous situation. It is still raining and is not expected to end for several days hampering any efforts to begin clean-up. Kirkendall is planning on returning Friday to assess further needs UBC has uncovered in which the larger CBF family could address.
Charles Ray, Associate Coordinator of CBF of Arkansas and former National DRC for CBF and Rev. Marvin Jackson of the American Baptist Association Disaster Response, a close disaster response partner of CBF, are on stand-by to go to Hattiesburg if needed.
At this time, there has been no request for volunteers or items from University Baptist Church. We know, however, that this may change at any point. If and when it does, CBFResponds will get the word out. Everyone is asked to not assume what is needed and self-deploy or send items not requested. Doing so will only hamper the local authorities’ ability to meet needs.
For more updates, please visit the Disaster Response Mission Community, http://missioncommunities.org/disaster/