More than 400 youth evacuate
camp due to Hurricane Claudette
By John Hall
Texas Baptist Communications
More than 400 youth evacuated the Texas Baptist Encampment Palacios By the Sea July 14 due to the threat of high winds and flooding as the eye of Hurricane Claudette neared the site.
Hurricane Claudette has sustained winds of near 75 miles per hour and could gain strength before it reaches the Texas coastline. Forecasters predict storm surge flooding between five and eight feet, accompanied with as much as eight inches of rain.
The campers relocated to First Baptist Church in Katy, where they are continuing the weeklong One Camp, affiliated with several Baptist associations, including Coastal Plains Area, Gulf Coast and Guadalupe.
Jeff Kluttz, director of One Camp, said he hoped previous forecasts of the hurricane moving toward Brownsville would be true so the camp could stay the entire week. But with the storm approaching, "we had to make a decision based on the best information we had," he conceded.
"A lot of churches we cater to are small churches, and this is the only (youth) thing they do all year," Kluttz commented. "We didn’t want to cancel camp."
With the help of the Katy church, the camp largely has continued as originally planned, he said. The Texas Baptist Men Dallas Associational feeding unit is en route to provide meals for the youth, and the Hill Country shower unit is on the way to supply showering facilities.
"It’s really been amazing how everyone jumped in and helped," Kluttz added. "We’ve been able to go right on doing camp."
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Kluttz said he hopes to be back at the encampment by lunch July 16 if it is not badly damaged or flooded.
TBM South Texas and Bluebonnet units are on alert waiting to be called by the Red Cross to assist in disaster relief around the state.