GA faces flooding


"Everybody seems to be in good spirits."

—Lisa McLaughlin

About 300 Decatur, Miller and Seminole county, Ga., families spent Sunday and Monday nights away from their homes because rain from Tropical Depression Hanna flooded southwest Georgia.

Hannah dropped almost 15 inches of rain on Donalsonville -- in Seminole County -- Sunday, flooding streets, businesses and homes. In the Atlanta area, nearly 50,000 homes were without power Saturday and Sunday.

"Usually, you think floods come from a river overflowing," said the Rev. Jim Wells of the First Assembly of God in Donalsonville. "But we've had over 14 inches of rain and just house after house has been flooded. You wouldn't think this land was that low until after it rained and you could tell there was a valley there."

The destruction was so immense that Georgia Gov. Roy E. Barnes declared a state of emergency Monday.

By Tuesday morning, the water was drying and people were beginning to clean up. Churches in the area quickly offered to help by providing, food, water, financial assistance and shelter to the community.

The First Baptist Church in Donalsonville became a shelter for displaced families. Sunday evening, the church had about 11 people spend the night. According to the American Red Cross, about 143 registered for assistance there.

"Everybody seems to be in good spirits," said Lisa McLaughlin, case manager at the Dept. of Child and Family Services Office in Donalsonville. "They're trying to assess the damage and are kind of not really knowing what to expect next."

McLauglin spent Sunday at the church, helping people get the help they need to recover from the flooding.

"Some people had water up to their chest in their homes," she said. "Utility sheds were just wiped out and were floating down the street. There were a lot of cars underwater completely."

The Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Donalsonville also served as a shelter and resource center for the community.

"People have been coming here for a break, and for lunch and dinner," said church member and volunteer Catherine Pugh. "And The Salvation Army has been helping out."

The Macedonia church served as a meal center and a back-up residential shelter.

According to Pugh, people are dealing well with the flooding.

"Spiritually, they're average. Some are low in spirit, but on the whole I think people are doing pretty good."

While devastating to some, Wells said, the event has brought a spirit of unity to the community.

"Everybody is working together," he said. "The rain literally overtook a whole town. I've not seen rain do that before _ people who have been living in this town for 50, 60 years said they've never seen anything of this measure. But we've prayed the water would go down, and the Lord answered our prayer."

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