Several Oklahoma Groups Poised To Help In Japan

Monday, March 14th 2011, 6:31 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Several of Oklahoma's own relief groups are poised to help in Japan, though most of their international experience has been in third world, undeveloped countries.

"Our primary place of service would likely be in the small towns and villages that were just wiped off the map," said Sam Porter, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief.

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers come with lots of experience. They are one of 42 state Baptist Disaster teams, but one of only 16 which works internationally.

Last year, they sent 240 Oklahomans to help out in Haiti. They installed 120 wells to provide fresh water.

"Since this is hitting a lot of the rural areas there could be a need for us to go in and reclaim water wells for the farmers, which is a specialty that we have that no one else is doing now," Porter said.

The tsunami swamped a lot of low lying farmland on the coast. Baptist Global Response, the parent organization, already has teams on the ground assessing the needs.

They'll work directly with Baptist churches and missionaries in Japan.

"Everybody along the coast of Japan has lost somebody. They've lost friends and families, they've lost coworkers. They've lost neighbors. The whole country feels that loss," Porter said.

With the need so great, Porter is certain that Oklahoma Baptist can help, but right now, there's not much more they can do than wait.

"We're not going to get on a plane until we have specific assignment and mission, but I really expect to get that in the next few days," he said.

In Japan, though this disaster differs from what they've responded to before, Porter expects to get the results of the assessment in a day or two.

From there, they'll start working on the deployment. He does not expect they'll be needed as long as they were in Haiti.