Valdosta Daily Times

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May 22, 2013

Southern Baptists prepare to send help to Oklahoma

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s disaster relief organization are making plans at their suburban Atlanta offices to send help to the Oklahoma City area after Monday’s tornado.

The volunteers were gathering at the group’s North American Mission Board office in Alpharetta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported ( ).

Mike Ebert, a spokesman for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, said Oklahoma Baptists have a large disaster relief operation, but they’ve requested additional help.

Ebert said his team spent Tuesday morning loading a semitrailer with pallets of bottled water and big rolls of roofing tarp “so that our volunteers can patch up the homes that were damaged that are still functioning, still standing.”

Authorities said the tornado killed at least two-dozen people, including at least seven children.

“The devastation is so massive,” Ebert said Tuesday morning. “We’re hearing a 30-square-mile area.”

Ebert added that an assessment team would be on site Tuesday in the disaster zone to determine other needs, how many volunteers will be needed, and which states would provide those volunteers.

“We have the capacity to send in several hundred (volunteers) if that’s what’s needed,” he said.

“Once we get to the point where we’re able to get in and help clear trees and help patch roofs, we will need a lot of volunteers to help with that,” Ebert said.

He said the response will several crews with chain saws that can clear trees and other debris, as well as feeding teams that can run mobile kitchens.

“Georgia does have a lot of chain saw teams and mobile kitchens, so Georgia could very well be one of the groups that is mobilized for that,” he said.

Other groups in Georgia are mobilizing efforts as well.

Rubin Brown, a spokesman for the Atlanta chapter of the American Red Cross, said his organization had two people deploying to the disaster zone Tuesday, and “200 volunteers in the state have raised their hands to volunteer.”


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