SIMPSONVILLE—Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers departed Thursday morning for Michigan to assist residents in the aftermath of historic flooding in Detroit and its suburbs.
Between 50,000-100,000 homes were affected when torrential downpours on Aug. 11 left much of the city and its surrounding areas under water. More than four and a half inches of rain fell in 24 hours, making it the Detroit’s wettest day in 89 years.
The crew of 11 Kentucky Baptists will assist residents with mud-out work, assess clean-up needs and serve as chaplains. They are part of a larger disaster relief effort being coordinated by the North American Mission Board and the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.
The team, led by Bob Perkins of Simpsonville Baptist Church, is based at Warren Woods Baptist Church in Warren, a northern Detroit suburb. They are expected to serve through Aug. 29, according to Coy Webb, disaster relief director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
As of Wednesday, 120 work requests had been filed through Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Webb said.
“We were one of the first states contacted to attempt to generate quick response,” Webb said, “but this has evolved into a national disaster response.”
Three people died and thousands of afternoon rush-hour motorists were left stranded as the downpour quickly flooded interstates and city streets. According to news reports, as a precaution, Michigan State Police even sent dive teams to search for victims inside abandoned cars at the bottom of flooded highways.
Webb said even amid devastation, Southern Baptists have an opportunity to make their mark on Detroit, “one of the most underserved cities in North America,” through both disaster relief and NAMB’s Send North America initiative.
“With few local Baptists to help, Send North America: Detroit needs outside churches to provide prayer, people and resources for its efforts to penetrate lostness in Motown and the suburbs that surround it,” he said.