Texas Baptist Men volunteers
to help flood victims in Mozambique
___By Ken Camp
___Texas Baptist Communications
___JOHANNESBURG, South Africa--Continuing rains in southern Africa delayed the entry of Texas Baptist Men disaster relief workers into Mozambique by at least 18 hours, but volunteers expected to begin providing clean water and hot meals to flood victims by last weekend.
___Three volunteers with Texas Baptist Men and a group of North Carolina Baptists traveled to Mozambique to provide disaster relief for flood victims in the wake of Cyclone Eline and more than three weeks of torrential rain. A second volunteer team is slated to leave for Mozambique March 9.
___The 18-hour delay in the border crossing from South Africa into Mozambique allowed the volunteers to replace a faulty water pump on one of the five vehicles in their caravan, according to team leader Dick Talley, logistics coordinator for Texas Baptist Men.?
___"It gave us time to test the water purifiers," he added, noting that the Texans built two purifiers on-site in South Africa from locally available components and shipped one ready-made unit from the United States. The two locally produced units are capable of purifying at least eight gallons of water per minute.
___The floods in Mozambique killed at least 200 people, drove more than 1 million from their homes and left about 100,000 stranded on rooftops and treetops. International media reported the story of one woman who gave birth while in a tree.
___Officials fear the refugees are at risk for diseases such as cholera, malaria and meningitis.
___Talley, a layman from First Baptist Church of Dallas, Mel Goodwin from Clarksville City Baptist Church in White Oak and Harry Campbell from Eastside Baptist Church in Killeen hoped to help prevent the spread of those water-borne diseases by delivering and operating three water purifiers.
___The Texas Baptists also assembled three field kitchens to provide emergency food service and were training representatives of the South African Baptist Union in their operation.
___The Texas volunteers initially planned to set up their emergency food service at First Baptist Church in Maputo, Mozambique. However, as of March 2, it appeared they might be needed farther to the north.
___"We may end up going further north than Maputo where so many are stranded. We hear that people everywhere are stuck in trees," Talley said.
___The Texans are working with Baptist Men from North Carolina on the project. The North Carolina Baptist Men will lead in "mud-out" efforts, reclaiming homes and other buildings.
___A North Carolina Baptist donor made an initial $20,000 gift to help the volunteers purchase food in South Africa for transport into Mozambique.
___Individuals wishing to contribute should designate their checks "disaster relief," made payable to "Baptist Executive Board," and mail them to the Baptist General Convention of Texas, 333 N. Washington, Dallas 75246-1798.
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