The news reports continue to paint a bleak picture in the state of Washington.
Massive mudslides have claimed the lives of at least 21 people and another 30 are still reported missing.
But in the midst of much hopelessness and chaos, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has deployed to Washington and will be supporting the communities affected along with the local churches.
“The only personnel they’re allowing in that one square mile is essential personnel for search and rescue,” said Al New, deployment manager of the Rapid Response Team. “Everybody seems to be overwhelmed and that’s understandable.”
Oso and Darrington are the two neighboring cities most affected in Snohomish County.
Normally, a short drive connects the two small neighboring towns, but after the disastrous mudslides, it takes up to two hours to get from one town to the next through alternate roads.
“What the mudslide has done is cut those two towns in half,” New said.
Ray and Suzanne Thompson, the two chaplain coordinators already in Washington, met up with Howard Lewis, a police chaplain in Snohomish County and also a crisis-trained Rapid Response Team chaplain, earlier this week to help assess the situation. Additional volunteer chaplain will be brought in soon to help minister where needed.
The Rapid Response Team asks for continued prayers for those missing along with the families of the victims.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is a nationwide network of Christian chaplains across 48 states that are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. Since the ministry was launched in 2002, it has responded to more than 155 natural and man-made disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and shootings.