Following devastating floods in central Tennessee and northern Mississippi in the past week that killed at least 19 people, the spokesman for the Diocese of Nashville reported that the Catholic community has “been hit pretty hard.”
Rick Musacchio, director of communications for the Diocese of Nashville, told CNA on Tuesday that although school and parish buildings only had “relatively minor damage” from the floods, “members of the Catholic community here in Nashville have been hit pretty hard.”
“Quite a number of people have lost their houses or have had some level of water damage,” he added.
According to Fox News, thousands of residents in Tennessee saw their homes hit with more than 13 inches of rain falling over the course of two days. Authorities were forced to evacuate the downtown area of Nashville where a leaky levee further threatened local homes and businesses.
“So far at this point we're still assessing the depth and breadth of the damage,” Musacchio said. “Quite a number of folks are not even able to get back into their houses at this point.”
Though the Nashville diocese is attempting to mobilize relief efforts, “communication has been sporadic at best, particularly in the hardest hit areas of the community,” he noted. Even though there has been difficulty coordinating a diocesan-wide outreach, “parish level and really even smaller groups than that came together in an organic fashion to pitch in and help each other out,” the diocesan spokesman explained.
Parish communities within Nashville, said Musacchio, “are pooling resources, putting some effort into taking care of each other, taking in neighboring families and sheltering people as we move from the downpour and deluge stage of this to really more of the clean up and recovery process.”
Despite the work of individuals, a good deal of the recovery initiative still “relies on the governmental efforts to get roads open again, to get power restored, in the hopes that we don't lose drinking water supply,” he added.
Musacchio explained that it is too early in the recovery process for there to be a relief funding effort on the diocesan level but said that the Nashville Diocese, with around 80,000 parishioners, has a history of being “tremendously generous” in supporting appeals for other communities stricken with natural disasters.