Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Deploys as Water and Despair Flood Columbus, Indiana
Deployment is 16th of Increasingly Tragic 2008
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains has deployed to Columbus, Indiana, approximately 40 miles south of Indianapolis. According to media updates, the floods have brought casualties, the hospital has been evacuated, millions of dollars of damage are estimated, and there are reports of looting arrests as residents attempt to dig out in the aftermath of the tragedy. It appears that most of the victims do not have flood insurance for their homes. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, which has already ministered in several other communities reeling from tornadoes and flooding this year, arrived on-site earlier this week. They are currently reaching out to the victims of the flooding while also making contact with local, state and church leaders and assessing the depth and breadth of the deployment. “We want to be a light in this community that was plunged into darkness and despair as the Haw Creek overflowed last week,” says Jack Munday, director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “In many cases people’s lives are shattered right now. Their homes are badly damaged or destroyed, along with the memories the home represents. Their feeling of safety and security is gone. They are badly in need of hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. “We are going to be in the community to help wherever we can,” Munday continues. “We’ll be a shoulder to cry on and a friend to pray with.” The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team will once again work in conjunction with Franklin Graham’s disaster relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. As Samaritan’s Purse assists with the physical needs of the flooding victims, the Rapid Response Team chaplains will attend to the spiritual and psychological needs in the community. This is the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team’s 16th deployment thus far in 2008, a year that has brought continual natural disasters across the country. In just the first half of this year, the number of deployments has far exceeded the total of 11 for all of 2007, which was previously the busiest year in the history of the Rapid Response Team ministry. The Rapid Response Team was developed following the attacks of September 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of more than 2,600 chaplains and ministry volunteers who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. For more information on the Rapid Response Team, visit www.billygraham.org/rapidresponse.