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Tennessee flood '1,000 year event'

Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief teams reported May 11


Will Hall/BP

Flooding in downtown Nashville brought damage to many businesses, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and the city’s football and hockey arenas.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams – including those from Georgia – traveled to Nashville in the wake of flooding referred to by a Tennessee congressional delegation as “a 1,000-year rainfall event.”

More than 13 inches of rain – nearly double the record – fell in many parts of Tennessee May 1-2, overflowing the state’s many rivers and creeks and flooding thousands of homes. Many if not most of the damaged homes did not have flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said May 11 that 23,000 residents had registered for federal aid. Nashville alone suffered at least $1.5 billion in damage, according to local officials.

Specially-trained Southern Baptist flood recovery teams – often called “mud-out units” – are on the ground throughout the state helping clean out flooded homes. Also, Baptist flood recovery teams from Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and North Carolina are either on the ground or are on their way to assist in the effort.

Donate to Tennessee flood disaster relief at or by sending a check to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024, with the designation “TN Floods 2010” on the check. Learn ways to help in the Nashville area at

From Georgia, cleanup and recovery teams from Polk/Harrellson Association Unit 13R and North Georgia Unit 8R began a three-week assignment May 11. Different groups from the Peach State will rotate into and out of the units based in Nashville for that duration.

President Barack Obama’s administration rejected the delegation’s plea for additional federal funding to help with the cleanup, reported The Tennessean May 13, instead asking that $5.1 billion be included in the legislation to aid the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA’s budget has been decimated, explained a White House spokesman, with a number of disasters such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Obama’s administration has declared 42 state counties major disaster areas.

Southern Baptists across the state have stepped up to help, the Baptist and Reflector newsjournal reported.

Randy Davis, Tennessee Baptist Convention president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Sevierville, visited five associations affected by the flooding.

“This could be one of Tennessee Baptists’ finest hours as we respond to help each other as well as other victims affected by the tragic flooding,” Davis said.

Tennessee Baptist disaster relief set up its feeding unit at Judson Baptist Church in Nashville May 6 and is preparing more than 12,000 meals a day. The American Red Cross distributes the food to flood victims not only in Nashville but in towns outside the city.


CNN’s Anderson Cooper, middle, talks to Jack Oliver, minister to children at Judson Baptist Church, who was leading a church team in cleaning up a Nashville home. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, left, joined Cooper on a walk around the community of Bellevue and bumped into the church team as it was helping clean out a flooded home. “I’ve never seen so many volunteers so quickly after a disaster, descending and helping out neighbors – thousands of members of church groups and individuals who just come out,” said Cooper in the May 6 broadcast. “You see people in front of homes and you say, ‘Is this your home?’ They’re like, ‘No, I’m just here, I just came down here to help.’ It’s an incredible sight to see. It’s a real testament to the spirit and strength of Nashville.” Bellevue was hit hard by the May 1-2 disaster that dropped more than 13 inches of rain over 48 hours, nearly doubling the two-day record. Davidson County, where Nashville resides, and 26 other counties in West and Middle Tennessee have been declared major disaster areas by the federal government.

Additionally, the Hardeman County Baptist Association set up its feeding unit at Buffalo Baptist Church in Hurricane Mills – 70 miles west of Nashville – preparing more than 6,000 meals a day, and a Shiloh Baptist Association feeding unit is preparing 2,000-plus meals a day at Poplar Heights Baptist Church in the West Tennessee city of Jackson.

Two Rivers Baptist Church, located near the flooded Grand Ole Opry, is serving as a temporary host of scheduled concerts. The first show was May 5, opened by Marty Stuart’s acoustic performance of “Let the Church Roll On.”

Two Rivers interim pastor Ed Stetzer called the occasion “an incredible opportunity to help our community and our city get back up on its feet” on a blog post to the congregation.

With the nearby Gaylord Opryland Resort also flooded and expected to be out of use for several months, officials donated tens of thousands of pounds of food for an upcoming conference to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief.

“Making something good out of a natural disaster is what makes this world go around,” said Carl Lord, volunteer for Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief. “Gaylord Opryland making this generous food donation will help thousands of evacuees and homeless throughout the state. We are grateful Gaylord called us to help.”