R oan Mountain, Tennessee, USA ... [ANN] Adventists are at the forefront of disaster relief in providing assistance to victims of last week’s flooding in Tennessee, reports Adventist Community Services (ACS) director John Gavin.

"ACS volunteers were on site soon after the flood and continue to play a key role in helping people recover from this terrible event," says Gavin.

Flash floods killed seven and destroyed 350 homes when a 30-foot wall of water tore through Roan Mountain and nearby Elizabethton in the middle of the night. An estimated 1500 inhabitants are now homeless, having lost both houses and possessions in the disaster.

"This tragedy has crippled these communities and we are providing assistance. Sylvia Bradwell, local ACS director, opened an emergency relief center at the Roan Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Church," says Monte Sahlin, Vice President for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), North America. "Terry Haight, ACS disaster response coordinator for eastern Tennessee, took a truckload of blankets and comfort kits to Roan Mountain on Sunday, January 11."

Monday, January 12, Richard Ramey, ACS disaster response coordinator for western Tennessee, spoke with officials of the Tennessee State Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and counterparts at the American Red Cross. ACS will take a management role in setting up a distribution network for donated goods. Ramey contacted Haight and the two ACS field managers met Thursday, January 14 at 9 a.m. with state and local emergency managers and Red Cross representatives to develop an action plan.

Under the terms of agreements with the Federal and state governments and the Red Cross, TEMA has asked ACS to operate a multi-agency warehouse for donated goods. Coordinating arrangements were made by Chris Jungerman, state disaster services specialist for the American Red Cross. [Jonathan Gallagher]