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Disaster Relief units move into Savannah and Kingsland, prepare for Florida

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Pat McCoy, right, of Berkley Springs, WV, a member of South Berkley Baptist Church, and Raymond Bouchoc, of Charlestown, WV, a member of Baker Heights Baptist Church, perform mud-out recovery work in July 2016 after flooding in West Virginia. Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief units are already en route to cleanup and recovery work on Georgia's coast following damage from Hurricane Irma, with further plans to join peers in Florida, said state director Stuart Lang. VAN PAYNE/NAMB

DULUTH --- This afternoon, Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief Director Stuart Lang confirmed the expanded response of units within the state while simultaneously preparing to help those in Florida in Hurricane Irma's aftermath.

"What a difference 24 hours can make," Lang said. "As with all hurricane-related responses, it pays to be patient. We are now engaged or about to be engaged on five different sites."

Two kitchen units have already been deployed to Georgia's coast. Currently, Unit 11F out of Stone Mountain partners with the Salvation Army in Savannah to help stricken residents. Meanwhile, Unit 9F out of Eastman has set up at First Baptist Kingsland to provide support for workers there.

Camden County, and the Kingsland area in particular, require particular attention. Cleanup and Recovery Unit (CUR) 4R expects to join them in a day or so in addition to chaplains and an incident management team.

GBDR's new partnership with the Salvation Army provides extra help for responders. Those Georgia Baptist kitchen units, Lang added, will be working closely with the Salvation Army's canteens, or food trucks. "It's a new venture for us," he said.

In addition, Georgia Baptist shower units have been dispatched across the state as needed. Flood damage led to the deployment of CUR 16R, based in southeast Georgia, to Liberty and McIntosh counties over the next few days, noted Lang.

Level Grove Baptist Church in Cornelia will serve as Disaster Relief units' launching point for its second-largest response in-state. Unit 7R, also cleanup and recovery, will join feeding support, chaplains, and an incident management team.

Helping Florida

Lang relayed that he expects Georgia Disaster Relief personnel to soon make their way to Florida as well.

"I have had two initial conversations with DR leaders in Florida, and will have another conference call at 7:00 tonight," he said. "Randy Creamer, my counterpart in South Carolina, and I are planning to coordinate efforts from our states to lead the efforts in Clay County, FL.

"This county includes the southern part of Jacksonville, and extends as far south as St. Augustine, but is on the west side of the St. John’s River."

The St. John's River, which bisects Jacksonville until it empties into the Atlantic Ocean, has experienced flooding not seen since 1846, the year after Florida became a state.

Further details, on Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief's response, Lang said, will be added on its website or Facebook page. In the meantime, Lang urged Georgia Baptists to respond through prayer, creating Buckets of Care, and/or donating directly to disaster relief efforts.

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