Hurricane Ian struck the west coast of Florida as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with winds as strong as 150 mph and storm surges of up to 18 feet Wednesday (Sept. 28) afternoon. Reporters on the ground near Fort Myers were calling the scene “catastrophic.”
Coy Webb, Send Relief Crisis Response Director, issued a statement that morning regarding the damage left behind by Hurricane Ian in Western Cuba where Category 3 winds left what he called “devastating damage to the communities in the path of the storm.” Webb said, “As Ian approaches Florida, pray for the people of Cuba. Pray for our national partners as they respond to needs through Send Relief.”
IBSA Missions Director Shannon Ford said although Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief (IBDR) volunteers have not been placed on standby, it is “a good time to check your equipment and go bag in case we are asked to assist.”
According to Ford, State Disaster Relief Directors will have an update meeting Wednesday (and Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers will be updated as soon as additional information becomes available.
Send Relief is currently coordinating with the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina Baptist state conventions and disaster relief networks. According to Send Relief, mobile kitchens and response teams from Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) have been activated. Chainsaw and flood recovery teams from those states are on standby.
As the storm moves north the possibility of flooding causing the need for a response effort exists in Georgia and South Carolina.
If you are an Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer, please note, should there be a callout you must have a current badge to participate. Check your badge or call the IBDR office at (217) 391-3126 to verify your status.
With thousands currently under mandatory evacuation orders Ford asked Illinois Baptists to “pray for the people of Florida and any other areas that may be involved.”