Heavy rains and tornados return in a year already marked by an unusually high number of disaster events.
By Philip Burn –
As intense storms continued to deluge much of Texas over the Memorial weekend, The Salvation Army mobilized additional disaster teams to provide relief, basic necessities, and emotional and spiritual care to communities hit by damaging tornadoes, heavy rain and yet more flooding.
As of Sunday morning, 17 counties and multiple cities in Texas were experiencing moderate to major flooding. The Texas Division is currently supporting response operations in Bryan, Conroe and Brenham, and Salvation Army staff is manning the State Operations Center at an elevated level of readiness. As flood waters rise over the coming days, it is expected that additional support and response will be required in the Houston area and near the city of Freeport, where 700-800 homes are estimated to be affected, as well as in several Service Extension Unit areas.
Disaster volunteer Dwayne Walters is coordinating The Salvation Army Bryan College Station disaster response team. Walters and his wife, Diane, have already been deployed for several weeks since this past January, serving tirelessly during disaster events in Dallas, East Texas, Austin, and El Paso. On Thursday afternoon the Walters’ home town of Bryan was hit by a tornado and around 30 houses were affected along with significant flooding in the city.
“By Thursday evening we deployed the Rapid Response Unit and were providing roving assistance in the impacted areas,” said Dwayne. “Our team consists of advisory board members, volunteers, and young people from the corps and it is a privilege to be serving people from our own community. We will be out here as long as these folks need our help.”
In addition to Bryan College Station, the Texas Division is supporting current response efforts in Montgomery and Washington County, providing food, hydration, cleaning supplies and spiritual care to first responders and residents.
The Salvation Army has been called upon to respond to an unusually high number of disaster events in Texas over the last 12 months. To date, across the state the Salvation Army has served nearly 100,000 prepared meals, 140,500 drinks and 84,000 snacks while assisting some 5000 individuals, who have also been assisted with nearly 9000 clean up kits, 12,500 comfort kits, 3,200 boxes of food and 13,500 cases of water.
The Emergency Disaster Services team in the Texas Division will continue to monitor the weather in the coming days, with several additional units on stand-by and prepared to respond if necessary.