Samaritan's Purse volunteers are hard at work in the Onion Creek area of Austin after a creek rose to a record high of 41 feet.
In the wake of the torrential rains that flooded Central Texas on October 31, Samaritan’s Purse responded to help locals who were devastated by the disaster.
Samaritan’s Purse sent staff and equipment to serve the Onion Creek community, located in the southeast part of Austin. Onion Creek reached a record high water level at 41 feet, severely impacting surrounding areas. A Disaster Relief Unit was based at Texas Oaks Baptist Church. In total, 436 volunteers completed 93 work orders. The first completed home belonged to a police officer who had just underwent surgery before the flood. He and his family had taken refuge in their attic, only to be forced to cut a hole in the roof to escape to safety. Although it rained while our volunteers worked, the family was pleased by the Samaritan’s Purse blue tarp that helped cover the hole and were appreciative of all the work that was done so quickly.
“Samaritan’s Purse volunteer teams are going to go in and just show these people that are sort of down trodden with life and everything, [and] show them that there are still people out there that love them and care for them,” said Kenny Greene, a Samaritan’s Purse fleet mechanic who also went out to help assess the damage. “[We want] to try to show people the love of Christ and just share it and pass it along and try to help ease their burden and help as much as we can.”
More than 1,100 houses were damaged or destroyed in the central Texas area as a result of the flood. At least two people, including a 9-year-old boy, died. As many as 100 people were rescued or evacuated.
The disaster was devastating to Onion Creek residents. People didn’t have time to leave because it came on so fast. Many were still in their beds because it happened early in the morning. One man described looking out his front window as looking through an aquarium. Fences and cars were swept away. Homes were covered with mud, and the water line was up to 4 feet or higher in some places.
Many residents did not have flood insurance because they never thought they would need it. A woman who has lived in her house for nearly three decades had only experienced one flood previously—when waters rose one inch.
Volunteers led 25 people to salvation through Christ as they worked on their homes.
“They need our help. You can just tell by looking around the neighborhood and talking to the folks,” Kenny said. “It’s a good feeling to get to be able to make somebody’s day, make them smile deep in a time of trouble in their life, just to show them the love of Jesus.”
Please pray that those impacted by the disaster will continue to recover.