Christian relief organizations opened their feeding trucks and dispatched service workers throughout the American Southeast Monday, as a weakened Hurricane Dennis sloshed inland and upward with heavey rainfall.
According to reports, Hurricane Dennis became a tropical depression and dumped anywhere from 3 to 10 inches of rain over Alabama, Florida, Missisissipi and Georgia, before staling over the Ohio River valley. The National Weather Service reported that in parts of Georgia, nearly 10 inches of rain poured over residential areas, forcing hundreds to evacuate.
By the time residents returned Monday, Salvation Army personnel and volunteers set up mobile canteens to serve hot meals and emergency shelters with shower stations. According to the Army, 200 personnel and volunteers established 35 mobile canteens able to serve 87,500 hot meals in the next five days.
Much of the Armys resources were centered in the Florida communities of Gulf Breeze, Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach the regions hardest hit by Dennis.
The Armys focus now is assessment and response to local needs, said Major George Hood, national community relations and development secretary. We will work with the federal, state and local governments, and our partner response organizations and volunteers to ensure that resources such as the canteens and shower units are where they are most needed.
Within the next two or three days, the Army will be working with residents on longer-term response such as housing and rebuilding.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were also being dispatched Monday across the Florida panhandle and the Alabama coast.
According to Baptist Press, Volunteers from Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma are mobilizing to supply what resources are needed. However, Southern Baptist response was cut back because the hurricane weakened.
"Initially, 24 units were requested to be put on standby by the American Red Cross and Salvation Army," Terry Henderson, Southern Baptist national disaster relief director, from the North American Mission Board's Disaster Operations Center near Atlanta, told Baptist Press.
"Most work will be debris removal and possibly some mud out," he said.
Meanwhile, residents are refocusing their attention to a new tropical storm that formed late Monday in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical Storm Emily is the fifth named storm of the season, and will likely speed up today as it turns toward shore. It is currently 800 miles east of the Windward Islands.
To receive help or to find out how to help the Salvation Army, visit: www.1800SALARMY.org . For Southern Baptist relief, visit: www.namb.net/dr.