House in Pacific Junction, Iowa

The gable of a home in Pacific Junction, Iowa, lays detached following heavy flooding.

PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa (BNM) - Eighteen New Mexico Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers provided humanitarian aid to residents of Pacific Junction, Iowa after spring runoff and levee failures caused the Missouri River to flood the town on March 17.

NMBDR deployed seven chaplains and assessors, nine cleanup volunteers and two shower and laundry volunteers to the town. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee also assisted with recovery efforts. 

Damage to homes varied significantly, as did reactions from homeowners. Many homes in the area were declared unsalvageable, with some homeowners choosing to demolish and rebuild. Homes that were salvageable were cleaned and disinfected with Shockwave, a mold-inhibiting chemical used by NMBDR.

NMBDR spent seven days salvaging items, removing debris and sheet rock, power washing and sanitizing one home. Volunteers developed a relationship with the home’s owners, providing them with encouragement and spiritual guidance.

Chaplains ministered to several other families and individuals, including a woman who recently lost her husband to a fatal heart attack. Janice Brooks, an NMBDR chaplain from Angel Fire, said, “In spite of the enormous devastation of the flood, I found the people of Pacific Junction to be extremely resilient.”

Recovery efforts were slow due to the severity and depth of the flood and the length of time the homes were inaccessible. The number of disaster relief teams requested currently exceeds the number of teams deployed. Shower, laundry, feeding and incident command teams operated out of Vine Street Bible Church in nearby Glenwood, Iowa. 

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief expects to have a presence in Pacific Junction through at least the end of May.  

Media Services Assistant / Staff Writer

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