By Baptist Message staff
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) – Louisiana Baptist disaster relief units are marshaling their forces in response to calls for help after powerful Hurricane Ian came roaring ashore Florida Sept. 28.
Feeding, shower, chainsaw, mud out, chaplaincy and assessment teams from throughout the state (with assistance from Texas Baptist Men and the Ohio Baptist Convention) will minister for at least four to six weeks in an undetermined site in Fort Myers, which is just east of where the center made landfall Wednesday near Cayo Costa, a protected barrier island.
Feeding teams arrive this weekend while the rest is the teams will depart next week.
Ian, a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph, left more than 2.5 million homes and businesses without electricity in Southwest Florida Thursday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says Floridians can anticipate more outages in central and northeastern Florida as the storm continues to make its way north.
The National Hurricane Center noted the storm was still expected to produce strong winds, heavy rains and storm surge across parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Ian is moving toward the northeast near 8 mph, with an increase in forward speed projected on Friday and Friday night.
DeSantis warned that in addition to the damage from the wind and storm surge the amount of water that’s been rising and will continue to rise is “basically a 500-year flood event.”
Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief Strategist Stan Statham said this is a chance for Louisiana to give back to Florida, which manned the site in Metairie last year after Hurricane Ida made landfall in southeast Louisiana.
“Pray, give and go,” Statham told the Baptist Message. “I would encourage Louisiana Baptist to help those in Florida who have been great partners with us through the years.”
For more information on giving to relief efforts or participating as a volunteer on the field, visit https://louisianabaptists.org/about/teams/missions-ministry/disaster-relief/.