Before turning in and getting a few hours of rest, Rev. Laraine Waughtal, CTC Disaster Response Coordinator, took the time to send in the following summary of the day’s events to ctcumc.org.
11:45 p.m. April 18 - Today, was a long day for the people of West as they continued to wait to hear about missing loved ones and news about their homes, friends and neighbors. Many were in disbelief as they talked about the shock that a fertilizer plant could cause such an explosion. (If you haven’t seen any of the video on YouTube, it is pretty powerful – but can be disturbing, so please view with caution) The overall discussion though centered on friends and loved one's they had not heard from. Two families from West First Methodist Church still have not been accounted for at this time and people are still praying for hope.
A good part of the day was spent organizing and preparing for the time that the search and rescue phase would be complete and the recovery work could begin. Rev. Jimmy Samson, pastor, West FUMC, his wife, the church secretary and other church members spent time with me today locating and talking to church members, while trying to make sure everyone was accounted for from the church.
Work was also done with the West Disaster Relief Command Center to see what needs were as of yet un-met and setting up West FUMC to serve as a command center for the Red Cross. A damage assessment was done on the church, and fortunately, a number of broken windows proved to be the buildings main worry. Rev. Kyland Dobbins of the Central Texas Conference Center for Mission Support team and Central District Superintendent Don Scott worked hard all day contacting churches that could serve as storage areas for rebuilding and recovery supplies. They also have made arrangements with several churches to house our volunteers once we are able to begin accepting them into the area.
And the list of those going above and beyond today goes on and on – both here in West and in our district/conference offices and many of the local churches in the area.
We plan to have more information for you Friday regarding the needs of the community and hopefully, some idea as to when CTC ERT’s and the subsequently our Volunteers in Missions will be able to enter the area as the volunteer organizations will meet to coordinate their efforts tomorrow (Friday). On Saturday, a command center will open to begin interviewing clients who need assistance with their homes or other needs.
Thank you for everyone's contributions and prayers and patience.